#ZimSecurityCrackdown: 'President is Innocent, Hardliners to Blame'

Harare - Some senior officials from the ruling Zanu-PF party have absolved President Emmerson Mnangagwa of any role in the brutal crackdown on citizens by members of the police and the military.

The shocking report begs the question who is the real person in charge of the country.

The officials claim that Mnangagwa is against the crackdown but is being defied by members of the ruling party who are orchestrating the violent crackdown. The members who are alleged to be defying Mnangagwa are however not named.

In a report, international publication Bloomberg says, Mnangagwa is being defied by members of his ruling party who are orchestrating a violent crackdown after demonstrations this month, government and military officials said.

The continuing crackdown signals a split in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. Mnangagwa, a former spy chief, is trying to court investors to rescue an economy close to collapse and has said he won’t tolerate abuses by security forces.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Opposing him are military and party officials who want to retain tight control after ousting long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in late 2017 and benefit from illicit diamond sales, access to scarce hard currency and control over lucrative fuel imports, the people said.

The officials said a climate of mutual wariness exists between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga. 

While Chiwenga sees no reason for Zanu-PF’s hold on power to change, Mnangagwa can’t see how he can rescue a crippled economy without liberalising it and wooing foreign investment to a country with the world’s second-biggest platinum and chrome reserves.

"Those who are defying Mnangagwa know that he will take the blame, either directly or because he’s failing to rein them in, the officials said. The president’s only hope is to persuade them to accept harsh economic reality — or fire them," they said.

However, Piers Pigou, senior consultant for Southern Africa at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group dismissed the assertation as a charade saying that Mnangagwa was ultimately responsible.

"This is a result of the division. It’s a good cop, bad cop routine. While there may be hard-line elements, it’s his government. He has chosen the cabinet."

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