THE Zimbabwe National Army’s presidential guard unit has joined the Police Protection Unit (PPU) to provide security at President Robert Mugabe’s dairy business in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central, in a move meant to tighten protection in the aftermath of an alleged abortive bombing plot in January, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
By Herbert Moyo
This comes as it emerged in court yesterday that Alpha and Omega Dairy is legally owned by Harare lawyer Abdullah Ismail Kassim and Halima Baera, not the Mugabe family, according to Registrar of Companies and Deeds Office documents.
Military sources at the dairy said this week the yellow beretted troops were now providing 24-hour security at the facility and surrounding areas.
“There was need to beef up security after the (bombing) plot and as a result personnel from PG (Presidential Guard) have been roped in to complement the police (PPU),” a source at the dairy said.
The reinforcing of security comes two months after four people — Owen Kuchata, Silas Pfupa, Borman Ngwenya and Solomon Makumbe — were arrested and charged for possession of weaponry for sabotage and money laundering for terrorism purposes after the alleged attempted bombing.
Kuchata was slapped with an 11 year-jail term after pleading guilty to the charges.
Ngwenya and Makumbe are serving soldiers, attached to 1 Field Regiment and Zimbabwe Intelligence Corps respectively.
First Lady Grace Mugabe has publicly insinuated the bombing attempt was orchestrated by some military bosses to aid Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential bid.
Addressing a rally in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central, last month, Grace also claimed there was a plot to assassinate her son Bellarmine Chatunga as part of attempts to intimidate the First Family over Mugabe’s raging succession battle.
“If there are any service chiefs at this rally, please don’t bomb our dairy,” Grace said.
“How evil-hearted can one be? And you want me to respect you? You really want me to smile at you and say ‘Oh, well done’? Oh no . . . Come to the next rally, we’ll drop names. This thing of teaming up with soldiers to go and bomb (her Mazowe property allegedly to kill her son), it won’t work.
“If your plan is to bomb our dairy to induce fear, hoping we’ll surrender power, then you must be mad, very mad. Which post are you dreaming of occupying? Whose seat?
“Didn’t you hear there’s no vacancy at State House? Imagine it has got to a stage where they want to kill my son, Bellarmine. Is it fair to expect me to smile at you? Aren’t you ashamed? Killing other people’s children when you have yours, all 20 000 of them?”
The First Family’s multi-million dollar dairy business, apparently owned via fronts, has been showcased to visiting foreign heads of state and dignitaries as the model of success of the government’s controversial land reform programme. But it has often been in the headlines over challenges that include an unsustainable US$20 million debt, huge losses, mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.