HARARE – Top Zanu PF officials have tightened their security following threats spawned by a nasty succession row.
The Daily News understands there have been escalating threats to party officials from rival factions vying to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
Officials have reported receiving multiple death threats over disputed ongoing provincial elections that have seen the party being forced to convene an ad-hoc committee led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and key members of her faction to handle the remaining seven provincial elections after polls in Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Midlands were sullied by accusations of ballot fraud.
Officials say the threats are coming in menacing phone calls and this has left some gravely disturbed.
The situation remains tense, and sporadic violence remains a possibility.
The controversial and often chaotic provincial elections have been characterised by allegations and counter accusations of vote-rigging, triggering a war between rival camps that has since spilled into the public sphere.
Publicly, those defeated are washing their party’s dirty linen in public, revealing in startling detail the levels of deceit and mistrust within Zanu PF.
Mujuru reportedly leads a faction that has so far won elections in three provinces of Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Midlands while the other faction said to be led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is crying foul.
“I have since beefed up my security because of the threats that I am receiving from people I don’t know,” said a top Zanu PF official in Mashonaland Central.
“These people claim that we rigged the elections in Mashonaland Central.”
The vanquished are taking every conceivable measure to reclaim lost ground.
Public manifestations of Zanu PF factionalism have rattled senior officials who have since beefed up their security as they fear retribution from opponents who are not happy with the way the elections are being held.
The stalemate over the outcome of the Mashonaland Central elections has created yet another battlefront between Mujuru’s backers and those who fight in Mnangagwa’s corner.
There are now fears from both camps that the already tense atmosphere may degenerate into assassinations.
A senior official from Mashonaland Central claimed that there is a $20 000 bounty on his head.
The threats of violence have not spared journalists, who find themselves embedded in the ongoing raucous factional fights.
A senior journalist with the State media yesterday posted on his Facebook page that he had received a death threat.
“Some coward with a hidden ID just gave me a call and gave me a death threat… Hanzi (He said) I will be dead by 3pm tomorrow (today). Well I intend to live to be at least a 100. Go hang,” posted the senior journalist, seemingly unfazed.
Apart from death threats, senior Zanu PF officials also face jail as corruption evidence was reportedly being compiled to nail officials from the rival faction.
Sources claim one faction controls the judiciary levers.
“People are going to be arrested very soon,” vowed a senior official.
“We want the president to see the true colours of those who want to lead the party yet they are corrupt.”
Mysterious deaths and arrests of individuals are by no means new in Zanu PF.
Several top officials in the party have died in inexplicable accidents notably from Mashonaland Central.
Just before the July 31 elections, Edward Chindori-Chininga, an outspoken Zanu PF legislator, died in a mysterious car crash, fuelling speculation that it was an inside job.
Perhaps more disturbing is the sequence of events prior to the death of Chindori-Chininga.
A week before the fatal accident that claimed Chininga’s life, Mashonaland Central minister of State for Provincial Affairs Martin Dinha escaped death by a whisker, after submitting his name to stand as a candidate for Bindura South on June 15.
The advocate, a fierce loyalist and praise singer of Mugabe, is also regarded as a moderate linked to the Mujuru camp.