Police refuse to give Makoni protection

POLICE have turned down an application for protection from independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni and his associates amid reports that they are being trailed by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

Sources said Makoni wrote to the police last week requesting protection for himself, his family, and his allies, among them Ibbo Mandaza and Kudzai Mbudzi, but the application was turned down by Deputy Commissioner-General in charge of operations, Innocent Matibiri.

Matibiri, President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, is in charge of the VIP protection unit.

In his request, Makoni reportedly said his life and that of his allies were in danger because CIO officers were monitoring his movements.

The state spies have been attending Makoni’s press conferences and filming proceedings, which the former Finance minister argues constitute a threat to his physical security.

Matibiri in response to Makoni’s application on February 19 said police protection would only be “awarded to individuals with VIP status. Regrettably you do not hold such status.”

Makoni on February 5 announced his presidential ambition and a day later Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa and national commissar Elliot Manyika announced that the former Finance minister had fired himself from the party.

The decision was later upheld by the ruling party’s politburo on February 11.

The move by Makoni to stand against President Robert Mugabe in the March 29 elections was described by the head of state as “disgraceful”.

In a television interview last week, Mugabe described Makoni as “worse than a prostitute” and last Saturday at his birthday party in Beitbridge likened him to lice, which can be easily crushed.

Mugabe questioned who Makoni’s backers were and vowed that he will not win the presidential election because he did not have supporters.

“Are you being backed by your relatives or by your wife or your girlfriend? He only says he is being supported by one Ibbo Mandaza. Being challenged by a person in such state, without even a tiny party, is a complete display of disdain for me,” Mugabe said. “He thinks people will fall over each other while trying to align with him. The likes of (Joseph) Msika, (Joice) Mujuru and Mugabe will be forsaken by all the people for rushing to join Makoni because he is ‘a magnet’. This is hopeless ambition,” said Mugabe.–Constantine Chimakure