No breakthrough in investigations regarding plot to assassinate President Mugabe

THERE has been no breakthrough in investigations regarding the plot to assassinate President Mugabe and the successive break-ins at the offices of top Government officials, raising fears that something tragic could happen before the police makes any arrests.

Senior Government officials are now living in fear as this apparent lack of progress in the cases has left them exposed.

Information gathered by The Sunday Mail indicates that although police investigators are seized with the cases, no major progress has been reported to the concerned authorities.

It emerged during the run-up to Zanu-PF’s Sixth National Congress last December that high-ranking party officials linked to former Vice-President Joice Mujuru allegedly planned to assassinate the President if Mujuru failed to ascend to the helm of Zanu-PF and Government.

In November, the Zanu-PF Politburo received reports alleging that former party administration secretary Didymus Mutasa and sacked spokesperson Rugare Gumbo had explicitly mentioned that President Mugabe would be shot if he did not allow Mujuru to take over at Congress.

Reports indicate there is a voice-recording of Gumbo saying: “Kana Mugabe akaramba achipusha Mujuru out tichamubvisa sezvakaitwa (Laurent) Kabila (If Mugabe continues to push Mujuru out, we shall remove him in the same manner Kabila was removed).”

DRC President Laurent Desire Kabila was assassinated by one of his aides in 2001.

Mutasa – on the other hand – allegedly told one of his lovers that Cde Mugabe would be shot.

The lover immediately reported the matter to party authorities.

Further, former Public Service, Labour and Social Services Minister Nicholas Goche is accused of approaching hitmen in South Africa and Israel to explore the possibility of the assassination.

He allegedly used the cover of official Government business in Switzerland to make the stop-overs and meet the would-be collaborators.

And at Wild Ox Club and Mteri Lodge in Chiredzi on September 7, 2014, he told Zimbabwe Sugar Cane Millers’ Union secretary-general Cde Edmore Hwarare that “real war” would precede Congress.

He allegedly said shots would be fired and unnamed individuals flushed down the toilet.

National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba initially said she would be updated by investigators and furnish The Sunday Mail with details.

She, however, later said she could not comment.

“I have no official comment regarding those cases,” she said.

Lack of progress on investigations into an assassination attempt on Vice- President Emmerson Mnangagwa last December and break-ins at the offices of top Government officials has also roused consternation.

Four break-ins have been reported between August 2014 and January 2.

The first break-in occurred on Sunday August 31, 2014 when unknown assailants broke into Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s office at Mashonganyika Building and stole a desktop computer, a television set and unspecified documents, among other valuables.

In the second instance – on the night of September 23 – burglars targeted VP Mnangagwa’s Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs offices at the New Government Complex.

They, however, failed to enter via his secretary’s office door.

Office staff discovered the door had been tampered with when they reported for duty the next morning.

In the third break-in, the burglars this time targeted VP Mnangagwa’s office at Zanu-PF headquarters and sprinkled cyanide on furniture and floors in an apparent assassination attempt.

His secretary – who was the first to report for duty -fell unconscious instantly after inhaling the poison and was admitted in the intensive care unit of a local hospital.

Two other staffers were affected and also treated.

The trio was later discharged.

The latest break-in occurred on January 2 at Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu’s Kaguvi Building offices.

The burglars are said to have forced open three doors and tried to open the minister’s office door but failed.

Police indicated they were investigating a case of “unlawful entry with unknown intent”.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Secretary Mrs Virginia Mabiza told The Sunday Mail that ministry officials were afraid the assassins could target them.

She revealed that police detectives only visited the New Government Complex twice since the attempt on VP Mnangagwa’s office.

On the first occasion, they assessed the crime scene and left.

On the second day, they brought in sniffer dogs, collected fingerprints and interviewed staffers.

Mrs Mabiza said: “Obviously we need an outcome on the attempted break-in at the VP’s office that occurred last year. The police came and took statements and finger-prints from all the staff that works in the same corridor as the VP.

“We continue to live in fear because we do not know who these assailants are and by this time we expect the police to have picked someone for questioning.

“Yes, the security personnel have been increased, but we now expect arrests to be made considering that sets of fingerprints were uplifted.”

Judicial Services Commission acting secretary Justice Rita Makarau said she was yet to be updated on investigations regarding the break-in at Chief Justice Chidyausiku’s office.

“Officially, no one has been apprehended by the police and they have not yet picked up any suspects in connection with the burglary that happened four months ago.

“After the burglary, police details visited Chief Justice Chidyausiku’s offices and took statements from other officers stationed there. They uplifted finger-prints from the crime scene, but up to now no suspect has been picked up.”

A Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development official – who preferred anonymity – said police should expedite the investigations.

The official said: “Police are letting us down. It is now almost seven days after the break-in and they have not picked up anyone in connection with this. There are security officers who will be on duty and these should be picked up for questioning.

“We are living in fear. They want to make arrests when someone has died and that is unfair. Remember, cyanide was sprinkled in the VP’s office and three people were affected. The next time it could be arsenic poisoning.”

Home Affairs Deputy Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said police investigations were continuing, adding that details will be revealed once there are breakthroughs.

“Investigations are being carried out in the case involving the plot to assassinate President Mugabe. A lot of developments have sprouted over the past months in relation to the assassination plot, hence our force is gathering evidence.

“As for break-ins, we are seized with these unusual developments and as a ministry we are in the process of reviewing the whole security system.

“Our preliminary observations indicate that there is a clique of people which knows the security system and taking advantage of loopholes. Police have not yet given us a detailed report on the investigations.”

Analysts advocated the immediate investigation and arrest of Gumbo, Mutasa and Goche given their links to the alleged assassination plot.

Prominent lawyer Mr Jonathan Samkange said police were not executing their duties diligently and accused them of “taking the nation on a joy ride on the notion of ‘investigations are still underway’”. It is clear the police are dragging their feet on the assassination case. The allegations were raised against the plotters, the names are there. We are now in 2015 and this all happened in 2014 and not even one of the plotters has been picked up for questioning.

“The police should just come out in the open and tell the nation the truth. If the allegations were false they should just tell the whole country.

‘‘They cannot continue saying to Zimbabweans and the international community that a treasonous act is still under investigation for more than five months.”

He continued: “They should just arrest people. The names are there; what more investigation needs to be carried out? Break-ins in Government offices and protected areas are not something we need to sit and look at as a portrait. The police should not tell us that they have uplifted fingerprints and fail to arrest or pick up suspects

“It seems the relevant authorities are letting the police take us for a ride. When allegations are raised against individuals, they are picked up. So, why are they failing to pick up these people for questioning? It is all a hoax, the police should not let the nation down.”

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