claimed close to 300 lives of army members. The investigations have revealed what led to the CIO advising Mugabe to pre-empt what they feared could be a possible plan for a coup led by an influential former army leader.
The leader of the group of six men facing charges of terrorism for planning to stage the coup was allegedly told by Mugabe’s intelligence advisers last year about a possible coup masterminded by people aligned to Retired Major General Solomon Mujuru. This fear was entrenched when members of the army expressed disgruntlement over the continuously deteriorating political and economic situation.
A crack group of military intelligence officers was sent to investigate senior leaders, including Mujuru himself, but failed to find anything tangible. In March this year a group of 14 soldiers was reportedly executed in Harare after attempting to march to state house and besiege Mugabe.
This made Mugabe and his handlers realize their fears were real after all and “caused them to hunger for action lest they would be beaten at it” say the sources. The executed group was linked to senior members but it was difficult to identify them. Investigations spread throughout the army and at the same time tried to establish possible links between army leaders planning the coup with senior officials in government and the ruling party.
“It is these investigations that led to pointers at senior army officials such as the late Brigadier (Armstrong) Gunda, Engelbert Rugeje and Elson Moyo but still it was really difficult to establish tangible things. Meanwhile, at the lower levels activity was going on with discoveries of the disappearances of small weapons from barracks as well as mysterious disappearances of army members, who would be reported to be around and suspected to be planning an attack,” an impeccable source said.
At about the same period, the country was engulfed in a wave of political violence and characterized mostly by the use of petrol bombs and detonators. To the shock of the regime, it emerged that the bulk of equipment and explosives used were traced to the army and other state security departments.
It is there that former army member, now businessman and known MDC supporter, Albert Mogove Matapo comes in.
Through the torture and intimidation of arrested persons, Matapo was implicated in the petrol-bombing as well as other acts of violence. He was monitored by state intelligence, and it was discovered he was in touch with serving army officials, both senior and junior. This led to the raid on his offices on March 29 where he was arrested with five others.
It was hoped that torture of those arrested would lead to them revealing details about real plans of a coup – but it failed again. This in turn led to the smuggling into the charge sheet of Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s name by senior intelligence people opposed to him.
Deaths continue to occur with sources saying the handling of the stage-managed plan had a lot of loopholes and several influential people are feared likely to spill the beans. The late Gunda is said to be one of the victims of the ongoing confusion. – Itai Dzamara
Post published in: News