MNANGAGWA'S POLITICAL STAKES HIGHER THAN MUGABE EVER IMAGINED
RECENT events following the alleged poisoning of Emerson Mnangagwa, once regarded as President Robert Mugabe's blue eyed boy and heir apparent to the throne of Zimbabwe reveal that his political stake is much higher than Zanu PF ever realised.
The involvement of the army in the welfare of Mnangagwa since the unfortunate incident seems to send a message to all and sundry that the vice president is now under army protection, and it would be in the interest of Mugabe to take heed the tell tale signs of who holds the balance of power in Zimbabwe.
It is a public secret that whoever has control of the security forces in Zimbabwe has full control. After all, he who pays the piper detects the tune.
When Mnangagwa fell ill, it was the army who chartered a helicopter which flew him to South Africa where he received treatment. And more interestingly is the fact that he was accompanied by general Constantine Chiwenga's wife Mary and Dr Paul Chimedza.
Mrs Chiwenga's involvement comes as no surprise as the relationship between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga is no secret. But the singular action, if there is such a thing of power being sexually transmitted. The vice president was accompanied by the army general himself thereby putting a message across to all who care to look beyond what the eye can see.
As if that was not enough the army is said to have chartered two helicopters, one which was used as a decoy and the one which took him to South Africa where he received treatment. The other helicopter is said to have landed in Bulawayo.
This in itself reveals that they believed that there was a deliberate attempt on Mnangagwa's life and they could no longer entrust his safety in anyone's hands but the army's.
One can be pardoned for jumping to the conclusion that Ngwena, as he is fondly referred to by his supporters, is now under military protection because upon his return from South Africa, he chose to land at Manyame Air base and not the national airport.
In Zimbabwe, it is a known fact that the security sector is a key player in ensuring Mugabe and Zanu PF maintain their grip on power even though the masses are anxious to see their backs. They have done this through the use of methods such as intimidation, fear and violence.
Ever since the country attained independence in 1980, the security sector has been instrumental in yielding the masses to Mugabe and Zanu PF's will through, violence, fear and intimidation.
Everyone in Zimbabwe can testify that the fear of the security forces which include the police and army is the beginning of all knowledge. It is common place for these security forces to mete out justice on citizens when they deem it fit or when they feel their authority is not being recognised.
Their powers supersede even the Constitution, therefore they enjoy immunity for all their atrocities. On one hand, the highest law of the land states that demonstrations are a constitutional right but the police can, in fact, ban them and when citizens decide to exercise this right, they are beaten up and arrested.
It is business unusual in Zimbabwe as these men and women who are mandated by the constitution to safe guard and protect citizens instead abuse them on the orders of Mugabe and Zanu PF.
They decide what happens in Zimbabwe. In 2008 when Movement for Democratic Change president Morgan Tsvangirai trumped Mugabe in the presidential plebiscite, security sector leaders vowed never to salute anyone who had not participated in the liberation struggle.
In the early 80's Mugabe used the 5th Brigade led by Mnangagwa to quell opposition from late nationalist Joshua Nkomo in an operation named Gukurahundi were at least 20 000 people lost their lives in Matabeleland region.
Mugabe, of course, dismissed this heinous crime on humanity as a "time of madness". To date, there has been no justice for the victims and their families.
The ruling party have also used the security sector in the enforced disappearances of people who dare to speak evil of them.
Zimbabweans will remember the case of Rashiwe Guzha and Itai Dzamara, whose disappearance has all been linked to the security forces.
During the 2000 constitutional referendum when the masses voted against the constitution which had been spearheaded by the government led by commissioners like professor Jonathan Moyo, Zanu PF saw this as a slap on their face and opposition to their prolonged rule.
Mugabe's response was to unleash war veterans on white farmers, believed to be the sponsors of the Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement For Democratic Change, a party which posed the most fierce opposition to Mugabe and Zanu PF since independence.
The war veterans unleashed a reign of terror which not only saw hundreds of people losing their lives but the downfall of the Zimbabwean economy whose backbone is agriculture. At least 4000 commercial white farmers lost their land and whatever was on the land. The farms were later on distributed among Zanu PF cell phone farmers who have failed to fully utilise the land.
During the 2002 elections, it was the security forces which ensured a Mugabe and Zanu PF victory against the popular Tsvangirai and MDC through their usual methods of violence, fear and intimidation. Again hundreds lost their lives and matters were once again swept under the carpet.
In 2008 the country has once again experienced the hospitality of the security forces during the run up to the presidential run off pity Mugabe against Tsvangirai after the election results had been declared inconclusive. The MDC claims that at least 200 people lost their lives during the violence that ensued.
People had their limbs cut off and some women were raped by the members of the armed forces as punishment for supporting the MDC.
But before the violence broke out, Zimbabweans had to wait for about 6 weeks before the results of the March 2008 elections were released.
Based on our history it is evident that whoever controls the security forces has the power. And in this case, one does not need to be a rocket scientist to see where the army's alliance lies.