A Mugabe fight-back would have led to a “bloody outcome”
Had former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe tried to fight back during a military takeover that ultimately led to his removal from office‚ there would have been bloodshed.
This was revealed in documents sent by a new political party – the New Patriotic Front (NPF) – to the Southern Africa Development Community and the African Union on February 2. The documents show that the Zimbabwe National Army warned Mugabe against using the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to counter them while he was on lock-down during his last days in office.
According to a petition sent to SADC and the AU by the NPF‚ such a last-ditch effort to save Mugabe's presidency would have culminated in a bloodbath on 15 November.
Among the information submitted through the party’s lawyer‚ Johannesburg-based Marius van Niekerk‚ was a 79-page document containing minutes of all meetings between Mugabe's negotiation team and army commanders – documents that reveal tensions between the army and the other two security bodies.
"The president was informed that the Command Element had made it clear that a counterforce against their operation would constitute an escalation which was bound to lead to a bloody outcome‚" read the minutes.
The NPF alleges that tensions between the police and army reached fever pitch when a message attributed to former intelligence boss Happyton Bonyongwe - who had just assumed the duties of minister of legal affairs in Mugabe's last cabinet reshuffle - to now retired Air Marshal Parrence Shiri was intercepted.
The message was that Shiri had to fly back home from Dubai to join efforts for a counter operation led by the police force. This led to the withdrawal of the police from its duties countrywide and as negotiations went on police commissioners were excluded from meetings.
Shiri is the new minister of land under president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
A fortnight ago‚ senior police officers were retired along with senior CIO operatives accused of not being in support of the new dispensation.
Speaking at his inaugural appearance at the AU‚ Mnangagwa assured delegates that the former leader was resting peacefully at home. But This was refuted by self-exiled former government minister‚ Professor Jonathan Moyo‚ who‚ in an interview with the SABC‚ claimed that Mugabe's family was being harassed.
Mugabe retreated to private life‚ but this week was in contact with some opposition politicians‚ such as Joice Mujuru‚ raising fears that he would endorse a unified opposition against the Mnangagwa presidency during the upcoming elections.