As divisions continue to rock Zanu PF Bulawayo Province, several senior party members claim to have received threatening messages on their mobile phones.
The messages, allegedly originating from one source, were sent to the Zanu PF members last Friday at around 3pm.
In one message reportedly sent to Zanu PF politburo member Joshua Malinga, the sender threatened to throw the former Bulawayo mayor off his wheelchair because he “hated provincial chairman Isaac Dakamela and youth chairman Butholezwe Gatsi”.
There is a general feeling among party members, however, that the sender of the messages is from within their rank and file.
Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka confirmed the threats and said they were investigating six cases of Zanu PF officials who received death threats on their phones.
“We are handling six cases where Zanu PF members, some from Umguza District, received death threats on their mobile phones. Police are still investigating the matter,” said Mandipaka.
Recipients of the messages include Dakamela, politburo members Eunice Sandi-Moyo, Angeline Masuku and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, among other others.
It was also revealed that party members from Umguza district in Matabeleland North had also received similar threats.
“The messages have been sent to almost everyone in the youth, women and main wings. The messages differ in content with some accusing recipients of sowing hatred in the party and others making witchcraft accusations. Others have received phone calls from people alleging to be their spouses accusing them of being involved in infidelity,” said a source.
Gatsi confirmed receiving a death threat on Friday evening.
“I was out of town on Friday and only came back at about 7pm. When I got to a place where there was cellphone coverage, a message got into my phone threatening to make me disappear without giving reasons,” said Gatsi.
“Many people in the party have received these messages including ministers. However, we believe that it could be someone from within the party who is trying to cause unnecessary confusion.” Gatsi said all the party members who received the messages had reported the matter to the police who were now investigating.
Malinga confirmed receiving threats but declined to go into detail.
“It’s all nonsense. It happens in politics. They are just messages from psychopaths trying to cause confusion,” said Malinga.
Dakamela also confirmed receiving the insulting message but declined to discuss the matter saying the contents could not be printed in a family newspaper.
“It was a serious insult and I am not at liberty to discuss it. We have discussed the matter but the problem is that we do not know who the person is. If you call the number, it is no longer reachable,” said Dakamela.
“It might be someone from the opposition or from within but at the moment we are not sure exactly who it is.”
Ndlovu also confirmed receiving the messages.
“Personally I have received the messages for a very long time. It is not a new thing to me but I also received the messages. It is the hand of the enemy. That is all I can say,” said Ndlovu.
No comments could be obtained from Sandi-Moyo and Masuku as their mobile phones were not available.
The threatening messages come following reports that Zanu PF national political commissar Webster Shamu has moved in to resolve sharp differences dividing the Zanu PF politburo and central committee members in Bulawayo.
The widening rifts are said to have stemmed from a series of issues ranging from misrepresentation of orders from the politburo to unilateral suspension of party members without following party procedures.
Shamu is expected to deal with the issues before the Zanu PF conference slated for later this month in Mutare.
Zanu PF Bulawayo Province is riddled with divisions that have seen the party fail to win any seat in the last elections.