Muchena tells Zanu politicians to step aside

HARARE - Air Vice Marshal Henry Muchena has told Zanu (PF) leaders in Mashonaland West province that the military was taking over the partys campaign and that the political leaders will have to abide by a campaign programme to be designed by the soldiers.

Muchena, a hardliner ally of President Robert Mugabe has been fingered as the man in charge of a plan by the military to wage violence and terror — worse than seen in the bloody 2008 presidential run-off poll in which at least 200 MDC supporters and thousands of others were made homeless in a bid to cow Zimbabweans to back the Zanu (PF) leader in the next election whose date is yet to be named.

According to sources Muchena met the partys provincial executive three weeks ago at the 2.3 Infantry Battalions Magunje barracks in the province. The meeting was tense and Muchena accused us of not campaigning for President Robert Mugabe in the last elections, said our source, who attended the meeting.

He further said district and provincial members were misinforming the President that he still has support when what was on the ground is the opposite. He told us that they are taking over all party business to ensure that the party wins at all costs.

Muchena could be reached for comment on the matter.

However, and as earlier reported by local media, Muchena and other senior military commanders have in recent months met Zanu (PF) leaders in various provinces to tell them to step aside for the military to campaign for Mugabes re-election.

For example at one such meeting in Manicaland province last November, Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba and Air Commodore Innocent Chiganze told the Zanu (PF) provincial leadership that the military was taking over the partys campaign in order to be able to stop Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai from winning.

Zimbabwes elections have in the past been blighted by violence and charges of vote rigging, which saw the European Union and United States slapping sanctions on Mugabe, top Zanu (PF) members and the security forces commanders.

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