ZIMBABWE – The purges targeting former vice-president Joice Mujuru’s loyalists and perceived supporters, who are in influential positions in civil service, military, parastatals and other government departments, is set to continue as efforts to completely eradicate Mujuru’s footprints in government gather pace.
High-level sources said Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF faction is pushing for a clean-up in different offices that include the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), the Central Intelligence Office (CIO), government ministries and parastatals, as well as the Office of the President and Cabinet.
The push has been going on for some time, but has accelerated following Mujuru’s decision to unveil her policy blue-print dubbed Blue-print to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (Build), largely seen as a precursor to the launch of her party under the People First banner.
Last week, Sport minister Andrew Langa, a senior Mujuru ally, was dismissed from cabinet.
Government officials say there are likely to be more casualties as government moves to weedout Mujuru’s allies.
Sources said the Mnangagwa’s camp wants ZDF commander General Constantine Chiwenga and Zimbabwe National Army commander Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda to stay put.
They, however, want Air Force of Zimbabwe commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri, Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri, Prisons commissioner Paradzai Zimondi and CIO Director General Happyton Bonyongwe, among others, removed.
Officials say the Mnangagwa camp also wants the intelligence department to be shaken up.
“The top hierarchy at Chaminuka building (CIO headquarters) and most of all the provincial heads were and are still working for Gamatox.
Former Minister of Presidential Affairs (Didymus Mutasa), who was also de facto security minister, having held the same portfolio between 2007 and 2009, used his time at Chaminuka to turn the once-professional organisation into a pro-Mujuru outfit,” said another top Zanu-PF official. Bonyongwe, his deputy Daniel Nhepera, senior directors and provincial intelligence officers are on the firing line.
A number of permanent secretaries, other senior civil servants such as deputy chief secretaries, Christian Katsande, Ray Ndlukula and Justin Mupamhanga and state enterprises bosses are also targeted. The purges started in Zanu-PF before spreading to government.