Unprecedented security at Mnangagwa's event

HARARE - Security for President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his first meeting following the Bulawayo bomb blast which he described as an attempt on his life by “my usual enemies” was ultra-tight at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) yesterday, with layers of protection surrounding the venue.

Unprecedented security procedures were instituted at the HICC where Mnangagwa was officially launching the Women’s Micro Finance Bank (WMFB). Other security personnel were spotted using equipment to sweep the room for explosives or other devices.

The venue and roads leading to the HICC were secured by a contingent of security personnel. Security made stricter checks of people and personal property and items such as public address systems were frisked at the event area.

Officials were apparently certainly emphasising preventing any sudden mishaps since the tragic events in Bulawayo when a bomb went off as Mnangagwa and top Zanu PF officials got off the podium soon after addressing a rally at White City Stadium in Zimbabwe’s second largest city on Saturday, leaving scores seriously injured.

Mnangagwa escaped unhurt but one of his deputies Kembo Mohadi suffered injuries on his leg while Zanu PF national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri was also seriously injured.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s wife, Marry, was also among those injured as well as Zanu PF women’s league leader Mable Chinomona.

Scores of people were denied entrance into the main auditorium of the HICC while those who managed to get through had to deal with high level security procedures — including thorough bag checks and body searches along with mechanised searches — which sources said were just part of a broad security tightening measures which are to be introduced at all public events where Mnangagwa will be officiating.

Doors to the auditorium were closed as soon as Mnangagwa and other senior government officials, including Chiwenga, arrived despite the fact that there were many empty chairs inside.

When the Daily News crew arrived, hundreds of stranded invited guests were milling outside the auditorium as their fervent pleas fell on the deaf ears of uncompromising security details, which kept the doors tightly shut, often barking off orders that they did not want to be bothered.

The fact that the guests brandished invitation cards apparently did not matter to the hard-nosed security details as they said they were under instruction not to let anyone else in and were not prepared to listen.

Some females, including two who were walking with the aid of clutches, spent long periods of time pleading with the security details to no avail.

Even journalists who normally do not have difficulties gaining access to such events were flatly denied entrance and could only get in after the intervention of permanent secretary in the Information, Media and Broadcasting Services ministry George Charamba, who deployed officials from the ministry to sweet talk the security details.

A security source said yesterday: “We are facing an extremely high threat from these attacks and the government will continue to take precautionary measures to protect the president. We must remain extremely vigilant. You will see an increase in heavy weapons, bomb squad personnel, radiological detection teams and our technology at all public events which the president will address.”

This was the third time that Mnangagwa’s close security has been breached in the seven months that he has been president.

Mnangagwa’s security was breached during a recent Zanu PF youth interface rally in Gweru after a losing candidate tried to grab his hand while he was on stage.

In December last year, barely a month into his presidency, a bogus gun-toting man claiming to be a State security agent allegedly breached Mnangagwa’s close security on two occasions last week, only to be picked up by alert members of the military police after he positioned himself close too close to him.

Gauthry Chiredzero, who is now facing charges of illegal possession of a firearm, impersonation and forgery, was arrested by alert soldiers on December 6 last year while trying to disguise his identity by controlling movement of people at the function of renaming King George (KGVI) Barracks to Josiah Magama Tongogara on which Mnangagwa was officiating.

Two days before, he had allegedly used the same modus operandi and gained entry into State House, where Cabinet ministers were taking oaths of office before Mnangagwa.


Comments (1)

These zanu pf leaders do not know who to trust amongst themselves now.They have become enemies unto themselves.We will just watch from the terraces whilst the drama unfolds.These guys are forgeting that they took power from Mugabe through the barrel of the gun and they expect him and his followers to just lie down.Leaders who are overthrown by coup are either killed or are forced into exile to avoid retaliation.

Luke Munya Mabika - 27 June 2018

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