Mnangagwa on high alert

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa has banned members of Zanu PF’s political bureau — otherwise known as the politburo — from bringing cell phones to meetings, in what analysts say is indicative of the deepening mistrust in the governing party.

Last Thursday, the Daily News witnessed politburo members being searched on their way in, and made to leave their electrical gadgets — including cell phones — by the entrance of the Zanu PF headquarters.

As they made a beeline through the scanner, they were told by security agents to leave their phones behind, which were wrapped in bond paper inscribed with their names for easy of identification during collection.

Before the start of the meeting, the officials could be seen chatting in groups or pairs — betraying the emerging factional dynamics that are causing discord in both Zanu PF and government.

After narrowly escaping an assassination attempt in Bulawayo in June, Mnangagwa has been tightening his security measures, including instituting a top-to-bottom review of security agencies protocols after the incident exposed serious lapses in his close security.

The incident also triggered suspicions and divisions in his party, with the president himself claiming it was an inside job.

Zanu PF is also split between those in government and bigwigs domiciled at the party headquarters who feel that their Cabinet counterparts are not doing enough to correct the economic meltdown that has seen prices of basic goods skyrocketing and the bond note catastrophically losing its value on the black market.

After the meeting, the Daily News crew witnessed some of the politburo members, among them former Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, ex-Health minister David Parirenyatwa and former Information minister Chris Mushohwe collecting their phones from the security check point.

Analysts canvassed by the Daily News said Mnangagwa risks sliding into the old order when his predecessor Robert Mugabe banned the use of cell-phones in politburo meetings at the height of the battle to succeed him last year.

Mugabe even went a step further and banned the ruling party top leadership from using social media to communicate party information.

At the time, it was being suspected that members of the warring Team Lacoste and Generation 40 (G40) factions were leaking information to the media to advance their sectional interests.

G40, which collapsed like a deck of cards when the military moved in to depose Mugabe last November, was pushing for the 94-year-old’s fashion crazy wife to succeed her husband while Team Lacoste was campaigning for Mnangagwa.

With Mnangagwa taking over following a soft-military coup that cut short Mugabe’s 37 years in power there was optimism that Zanu PF would at long last take a more democratic trajectory.

But commenting on the development, analysts said Mnangagwa was increasingly becoming paranoid and that he no longer trusted his lieutenants.

“It’s a sign of paranoia as it has been a fact that proceedings of that structure leak out to the media while in session,” said Maxwell Saungweme, a political analyst.

South African-based political analysts Ricky Mukonza said the mistrust could be emanating from the fact that the ruling party has not yet stabilised since the
departure of Mugabe.

“Add to that the current witch-hunt on those who are being seen as corrupt. The president cannot afford to take chances and allow people to bring devices that can be used to transmit what is supposed to be private deliberations into the public domain,” Mukonza said.

While Mnangagwa would want to portray himself as a reformed democrat, Mukonza said he cannot completely part with the ruling party and Mugabe’s way of doing things largely because it has been Zanu PF’s way of doing things.

He also suggested that Mnangagwa could have gathered intelligence to the effect that there were people who are not happy with his anti-corruption drive hence his decision to ban cell phones as a precautionary measure.

“This is a sign of mistrust among Zanu PF leaders and if not managed, it may further destabilise the party,” said Mukonza.

Renowned analyst Piers Pigou speculated that the development could just be a case of an institution looking inwards and not supporting its top leadership in the politburo.


Comments (7)

What will be discussed in those meetings has a direct impact to the citizenry/public thus must be public knowledge. ED is now a full-blown dictator only 2 days ago ordered those working at the Party HQ including former ministers to come donning party regalia emblezoned with his face.

Sinyo - 29 October 2018

For the record, DailyNews, this is not news at all! This ban and the searching was introduced during Robert Mugabe era. It might have been briefly discontinued

Mhofu Chaiyo - 29 October 2018

While we can talk and bwarf about ED instructing employees at Shake Shake building to wear their party regalia. To me, l think..its simple every where in the world that an organisation has its own Corporate Identity.....and all employees should have a culture of identifying themselves with the public hence its an organisation despite being political and its shall operate like any other institution which all necessary departments like Marketing, Cooperate Communication, HR or even Production departments. So whats funny about ZANY PF donning their party regalia. I don't see anything wrong with that. Only buffons and minions will not understand that a political organisation can always function like a company hence it is registered. ED is changing ZANU PF party just like how the Chinese have done to their ruling party. Sometimes, your so called comments from the so-called "Political analyst"are just arm-chair critics....useless indeed.

Clemence Tashaya - 29 October 2018

its news to others who had never heard so if you you knew that it's good for you let it be news to those who are hearing for the first time.since you knew you shouldn't have to comment instead looking for something new than commenting on the things that you know already trying to convince anyone here

Innocent - 30 October 2018

Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkky its so funny to hear people talking of democracy and want to see it being practiced the way they believe it. ZANU PF brought democracy in this country, and taught people that this is democracy. Surprisingly some fools think if a party has a name with democracy it is already democratic and pursue the democratic principles. So unless there are certain individuals not happy about security issues being implemented by ZANU PF leadership who are going to Daily News and make it as if this was reported by daily news reporters. There is nothing sinister about barring cellphones from party meetings. This is done for many reasons either to make the meeting flow smoothly without interuptions by individuals moving in and out to answer calls or for security reasons. that does not mean someone is being a dictator or undemocratic. That is poor analysis by the so called analysts. Leave ZANU PF and our President alone. Keep your bad analysis to yourself.

shunguhadziurayi - 30 October 2018

hmmmm shunguhadziurai you think you are telling grades 0 pupils if in the churches are being told to switch off the fones can't it be done in those meetings too than raises concerns by taking the phones from people they are adults enough to listen to switch off than to take them just admit something is fishing ko imhosva here kususpector your subordinates you must always alet hezvo anga arohwa nebomp kuwhite city stadium if he was alet the stadium or the stage was going to be searched he is doing that for his security not zvako zvekuti heee maups and down out and in vanhu vachinodaira phone when they are in the meeting no one will go out because of a cellphone ring usage kutiona kubva tazvarwa nhasi he is the boss he can just say once no phone in the meetings kwete kuti atyiwe but to be respected and he knows that or maybe you don't know they are phones which can operate while on off mode that's why akuti ngaasapinde so don't even try to cover up for him

Innocent - 30 October 2018

Even in Church we often hear cellfones ringing despite the fact that all are advised to switch off their fones sometimes when people dont behave in a way expected they get told what to do . and Zanu PF is no exception.

madube - 31 October 2018

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