PM’s life in danger
By Thelma Chikwanha
HARARE – As tension within the inclusive government continues to mount, there are fresh fears that the lives of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Finance Minister tendai Biti are in grave danger.
Sources in the security sector and the MDC who spoke to the Daily News last night said there were worrying indications that some Zanu PF hardliners could be working with rogue elements in the military and intelligence sectors to assassinate the two leading MDC lights.
“There is no doubt that the lives of the likes of Tsvangirai and Biti are in grave danger from some rogue elements within the military and intelligence sectors.
“Basically, these elements have reached the terrible conclusion that only violence and anarchy can keep Zanu PF in power. They are patently hostile to change and the inclusive government,” one of the sources said.
As a result, security around Tsvangirai and Biti has been tightened in the past few weeks.
MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said: “We are aware of the evil machinations of certain elements but we know that despite all their machinations and evil intentions, we will win the next free and fair elections.
“We are aware of the evil intentions of political criminals who want to terminate the life of the inclusive government and create chaos in Zimbabwe to justify human rights abuses.
“The MDC leadership remains badly exposed because state protection is very porous. The rogue elements were even recently allowed to demonstrate against Minister Biti. The security around MDC personnel is not good at all”.
Among others who fear that prominent political players opposed to Zanu PF may be facing a real risk of being assassinated is Minister of Education, Sports and Culture David Coltart who spoke recently at the law faculty of the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
He said Zanu PF hardliners were trying to derail prospects for a peaceful transition in Zimbabwe, adding somberly that, as a result, “there was no guarantee for a happy ending” to the current democratization process.
“The situation in Zimbabwe is very fragile, similar to South Africa in the early 1990s. There are hardliners trying to subvert the status quo … and they could be pushed to (carry out) the assassination of a high profile person in order to ensure an election this year,” Coltart said.
The startling sentiments have been echoed by analysts and other politicians who accuse “a primitive faction” of Zanu PF of working to end the tottering Global Political Agreement (GPA) and plotting to unleash violence across the country.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera said there was no doubt that hardliners within Zanu PF would not like to see progress being made as it would affect the privileges they have acquired over the years.
“It’s a very small clique but very dangerous. It wields military authority, substantial material and financial resources. They can afford to hire some people to do their bidding.
“For instance, there are characters masquerading as political analysts and advisers whom they are using to attack others and to preserve their privileges,” Mangongera said, adding that the clique was desperate for power and therefore nothing could be put past them.
However, another analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said: “If they attempt to assassinate anybody in the political field, it will be the end of their regime. The position of the regional players and international players is that anything done outside the legitimate framework will be unacceptable both to Zimbabweans and the outside world.
“What they should do is to address what needs to be addressed, and that is follow the roadmap because anything outside that is a waste of time and will have the effect of worsening the position of Zanu Pf in the eyes of Zimbabweans and the international community”.
Last month there was an attempt on Biti’s life – who is seen as a thorn in President Robert Mugabe’s side – after an explosive device hit the wall at his Harare residence.
The police only pitched up at the house 17 hours after the incident and there has been no progress in the investigations to date.
The attack came a few days after a heated Security Council meeting chaired by Mugabe where the vocal finance minister is said to have clashed with security chiefs.
Tsvangirai who is in Spain for the World Justice Forum accused securocrats, the real power behind Mugabe and Zanu PF, of interfering in politics and thereby undermining the new dispensation.
“When the Police Commissioner-General and the Attorney-General state publicly that they support a particular political party in an inclusive government, as in our case, the rule of law becomes perverted and people lose confidence in the institutions they lead,” Tsvangirai said.
Last week, the former trade union leader challenged the securocrats to remove their uniforms if they wanted to pursue political careers.