A CANINE unit from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) was Tuesday spotted sweeping through Zanu PF headquarters in an unexpected security operation that took both senior party officials and employees by surprise.
Sources within the party said the army personnel swept through the entire 14 storey building.
NewZimbabwe reporters on a visit to the ruling party offices, bumped into the army team on the 10th and 9th floors. Further investigations by the crew revealed a team of about 10 soldiers with a sniffer dog were carrying out a security sweep through every office.
“We are actually surprised, we have tried to come up with pointers as to what might have happened but there is nothing,” a source which declined to be named said.
“The president never visited the headquarters today, none of his deputies were here. So, we do not know what is happening.
“But, do not worry much, this building has ears and within a week we will know what was happening.”
The 14th floor houses President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s offices and his main boardroom while his deputies occupy the 12th floor.
Contacted for comment, Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu said he was not aware of any security check at the party head office as he was on leave.
“I am not in a position to confirm that, I am not in Harare but on leave in Nyamandlovu as we speak,” said Mpofu.
Zanu PF and ZNA spokespersons Simon Khaya Moyo and Colonel Overson Mugwisi were not reachable on their mobile phones when NewZimbabwe tried to contact them for comment.
While Zanu PF tries to keep a public face it was a united party, divisions are reported to be widening within the country’s governing party as the battle for control between Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga rages unnoticed.
As first reported by the Independent months back, political events currently unfolding in the country are pointing to emerging deadly factional confrontation between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga, widely seen as the power behind the throne.
Although Mnangagwa might have some newfound authority following his July 2018 disputed narrow election victory which gave him the people’s mandate, Chiwenga’s manoeuvres since the coup in November 2017 suggest he has presidential ambitions and may not be patient for his boss to even finish one term.
Insiders say initially the coup deal was that Mnangagwa would come in as a civilian face and serve one term and go, leaving power to Chiwenga.
However, Mnangagwa’s repeated talk of two terms and the ‘2030 ndendichipo talk’ is said to have widened the rift between the two. There have also been differences on the transitional arrangement, critical appointments, dismissals, especially in the security sector, business deals and the direction of the administration, sources say.
Mnangagwa has in the recent past become sensitive about his security and has taken measures to enhance that.
In 2014, when Mnangagwa was Justice Minister under the late President Robert Mugabe’s administration, he was said to have survived a suspected attempt on his life after his office at the head office was reportedly laced with cyanide.
His secretary was hospitalised after she came into contact with the chemical. Investigations were carried out by the police, but the results were never made public.
There were also several break-ins at Mnangagwa’s government offices at the time, but no leads were made.
Mnangagwa also survived a similar attempt on his life in Gwanda, 2017, when he was reported to have been served food laced with palladium poison at a Zanu PF rally.
His Zanu PF Lacoste faction was then embroiled in fierce fight with the G40 group over the succession of then President Mugabe.
VP Chiwenga also spent four months last year hospitalised in South Africa and China in another suspected poison incident.
Meanwhile, there were dozens of high school leavers who had turned up at the party HQ after having been misled by a social media purporting the ruling party was facilitating scholarships for disadvantaged students.
— NewZimbabwe/Zimbabwe Independent