Political Tensions Rise in Zimbabwe as Poisoning Claims Shake the Presidium Again

Harare – Political tensions are rising in Zimbabwe as poisoning attempts on the life of Vice President Constatino Chiwenga threaten to shake the presidium again. Marry Mubaiwa, who is the estranged wife of Chiwenga is accused of executing the poisoning, so she is being charged with the attempted murder of Chiwenga, as well as breaching the country’s exchange control regulations.

So tense is the political situation in Zimbabwe as many political elites in the ruling party Zanu PF had to forego a multi-million dollar banquet at the recently held 2019 Zanu PF annual conference in Goromonzi, preferring their own packed lunches for fear of poisoning. Zimbabwe’s political situation is made worse by the political standstill between the ruling Zanu PF party and the main opposition party MDC Alliance.

On August 12, 2017 in Gwanda, it is claimed that president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was Zimbabwe’s Vice President at that time, was poisoned by his foes at a Zanu PF youth interface rally in an epic succession battle between Team Lacoste and a team of youths by the moniker Generation 40. Grace Mugabe was the face of Generation 40 at that time with Mnangagwa leading Team Lacoste as both factions jostled to succeed Robert Mugabe as Zanu PF’s First Secretary and Zimbabwe president. A military intervention in November 2017 eventually dethroned Mugabe and paved way for exiled Mnangagwa to take over as Zanu Pf’s First Secretary and president of Zimbabwe.

Exactly two years later, Vice President Chiwenga, believed to be the power behind the throne is accusing his wife of attempted murder and poisoning. Informed by Zanu PF’s poisoning trends, cynics in the ruling party believe that if true, then there is a political hand behind Marry Mubaiwa’s murderous acts on the persona of the vice president.

In her defence papers, Marry Mubaiwa denied all the allegations, in the process giving reference to the Bulawayo bomb attack at White City Stadium in Bulawayo last year, which she referenced as an attempt on president Mnangagwa’ s life. There has not been any conclusive investigation to the Bulawayo bomb attack to date, which claimed two lives and injured 47 people, including Marry Mubaiwa who is currently nursing the sustained wounds. This case adds credence to Marry Mubaiwa’s claim that if allegations levelled against her are true, then Zimbabwe should be seriously worried about the state of security personnel who guard important individuals.

Constatino Chiwenga is the former Commander General of the Zimbabwe Defence forces, whose military record was unblemished until November 2017 when he led a military operation code named “Operation Restore Legacy” which led to the ouster of Robert Mugabe. Mugabe fell out of favour when he started to purge his allies to pave way for the rise of her wife within Zanu Pf and Zimbabwe’s political hierarchy.

In politics, there is nothing like coincidence. This week, the Zanu PF dominated Zimbabwe Cabinet approved a Constitutional Amendment Bill of 2019 which will allow the President-elect to appoint two Vice Presidents, while repealing the provision of running mates. A section of Zanu PF members claims that constitutional experts have criticised the clause arguing that it is an American concept that can cause a political crisis by creating two centres of power in Government. Surprisingly, there are no two centres of power in America. The 2013 National Constitution, through Section 92, has a transitional clause that provides for the joint election of the President and two running mates selected by the Presidential candidate.

Out of all this, the writing on the wall is that fresh fissures are emerging in Zanu PF, similar to fissures that led to the ouster of former vice president Joice Mujuru from office on 8 December 2014, together with seven senior government ministers.  Joice was married to former Zimbabwe Army Chief Solomon Mujuru who died in a mysterious fire at his farm in Beatrice on 15 August 2011. These are the same fissures that also led to the ouster of then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa from office in 2017, before coming back to claim the presidency through a military operation that led to the resignation of Robert Mugabe from the presidency. Superstitious politicians are still convinced that the spirits were not pleased by the forced ouster of Robert Mugabe. As was the case with the late spirit medium Mbuya Nehanda, they believe that Mugabe’s bones shall rise again to avenge the humiliation and persecution he faced under the hands of his tormentors.

Since the ouster of Mugabe in November 2017, Zimbabweans have gone through a horrendous political, economic and environmental experience.

Pressure groups and women coalitions are accusing the powerful Chiwenga of abusing the judiciary and the Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission to settle marital conflicts with her wife Marry. Assuming the allegations levelled against Marry are true, who will blame Chiwenga for the purges considering the emotional and physical sufferings he endured under the acts of her wife – Marry?

As the high profile legal case takes a political twist, the nation is looking for answers on the hidden hand behind vice president Chiwenga’s alleged poisoning by her wife. Secondly, who was behind the White City stadium bomb attacks of 2018? And lastly, who will restore the Zimbabwe economy? This is why Winston Churchill said politics is not a game but a serious business. Sun Tzu even calls it a matter of life and death in the Art of War.

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