THE Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has raised the red flag over escalating factional fights in Zanu PF, warning President Robert Mugabe to read the riot act to Zanu PF stalwarts positioning to succeed the soon-to-be 92 leader as concerns of a political crisis heighten.
Intelligence sources said a detailed report has already been handed to Mugabe chronicling events that are posing a serious security threat to the country, with the hope that the issues related to factionalism will be addressed at the next Zanu PF politburo meeting scheduled for next week.
The CIO has in the past reportedly come under attack for failing to warn Mugabe of former politburo member and finance minister Simba Makoni’s impact in the 2008 elections as well as the shock outcome of the 2000 constitutional referendum.
“The report details events that have been happening in Midlands because the province has become an epicentre of the factional fights,” an intelligence service source said.
Midlands has been at the centre of a storm after three ministers, Makhosini Hlongwane, Tapiwa Matangaidze and Annastacia Ndhlovu, wrote to Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko complaining of intimidation and harassment by fellow Zanu PF provincial executive members who are accusing them of disloyalty and joining a rival Generation 40 (G40) group.
Zanu PF is divided into two factions, one led by Mnangagwa and another relatively youthful group known as G40, which has vowed to derail Mnangagwa’s ascendency.
G40 proponents include Kasukuwere, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao.
The report also warned of careless statements by top Zanu PF officials who are taking the factional fights to social media.
One example cited in the report was Moyo’s post on his Twitter handle that: “It’s wrong to say some sectors are outside media coverage. Nothing is above the constitution. It’s the law, stupid! The constitution is supreme. So no sacred cows!”
This was after Information minister Chris Mushohwe and presidential spokesperson George Charamba threatened the media with arrest if they continue to write about the security sector.
Moyo has been vocal on social media making political innuendos widely seen as targeting Mnangagwa, referred to as “Ngwena” (crocodile) when he posted a photo-shopped image of himself lying on top of a crocodile captioned “Croc-bustering”.
Yesterday, he also attacked Charamba, who is believed to be a close Mnangagwa ally, when he wrote: “George Charamba must not abuse his civil servant role as information permanent secretary to serve successionist (agendas). That will be resisted as it was in 2014.”
The CIO report also spoke about the need for Mugabe to address divisions within war veterans of the country’s liberation struggle, who have in past elections propped him up mainly through violent campaigns.
Last month, Mugabe took a swipe at the war veterans during the party’s annual conference in Victoria Falls when he accused them of boasting that they were indispensable to the party due their liberation struggle credentials.
“After analysing security hotspots, the intelligence service revealed that once the war veterans are addressed and once Zanu PF members are reined in, then peace can prevail,” the source said.
A senior Zanu PF official said next week’s politburo meeting is crucial because it will shape the direction of the party going forward.
“This is a significant meeting which happens to be the first one since our December conference and is coming when internal fighting is intensifying,” the official said.
“If anything, the report you are talking about, speaks volumes to what should happen because there is tension all over.”
It is the first meeting after the December conference which was marred by internal fights, plots and counterplots as factions in the party position themselves to replace Mugabe.
In the run-up to the December conference, Mugabe told his ruling party’s central committee members that Zanu PF was in danger of splitting and accused rival factions of stoking divisions as they fight to succeed him.
Mugabe said there were groups in the party that were openly and secretly manoeuvring to secure influential positions, which he said was disturbing the efficiency of the party.
“There is said to be now these groups following the leadership, and the leaderships are not very clear, that they would want to lead the party,” said Mugabe. “And so, we have a problem at the moment that threatens to split the party.”