Discord in Zanu PF over circumstances surrounding the death of former army commander Solomon Mujuru two weeks ago signals widening cracks, division and mounting tension within the former ruling party, analysts and observers have said.
While presidential spokesperson and Secretary for Media, Information and Publicity George Charamba has tried in vain to gag the private media for questioning how the late general died, saying their reportage sought to stoke hatred and confusion, widow to the national hero Vice-President Joice Mujuru said she suspected foul play.
Vice-President Mujuru demanded a thorough probe into the death of her husband questioning how a distinguished soldier could fail to escape the fire from various points in the farmhouse.
She said she would never rest until she was furnished with details of what really transpired.
“It was closer (for him) to use the window than the door. So for a military man, it’s so weird that he could have failed to escape the fire,” she said Mujuru said.
“We don’t have to jump to conclusions. They (government) have invited all the expertise to look at what could have happened from the time when the fire broke out.”
Analysts said the discord was being stoked by mounting tensions and widening divisions in Zanu PF being caused by the contentious succession issue.
Political analyst Brian Ngwenya, said: “It’s a reflection of the divisions within the party. Its either they are not agreed on the way forward or they are serious tensions on the best way to handle the public image of the party.”
Another analyst, John Makumbe, said: “It is because of the confusion in Zanu PF. The confusion is caused by the denials. George Charamba, of all the people knows a seasoned soldier like General Mujuru could not have failed to escape from the house unless something had been done to him by somebody prior to the breaking out of fire.
“This is one death which Zanu PF cannot blame on sanctions, MDC-T or anybody else other than itself. Zanu PF’s major enemies are within the party itself.”
Charles Mangongera said he would rather go with VP Mujuru’s line of argument than listen to Charamba.
“I think Charamba is speaking as an employee of government whereas VP Mujuru is speaking as a bereaved widow. I tend to associate and believe what a bereaved widow says than what an official spokesperson of government is saying.”
Mangongera said given the circumstances of his death anybody “will be foolish not to have questions hanging over the matter. I think that those who want to put a blanket lid on the issue are the ones being irresponsible”.
Social commentator Hopewell Gumbo said: “Zimbabwe is bigger than Charamba. Rex was mourned by thousands of people and that was extra ordinary. Zanu PF will use any handy mouthpiece to portray some form of normalcy in the party, but the reality is there for everybody to see.”
Former student leader Blessing Ian Vava said: “Any normal person will definitely suspect foul play basing on the irregularities and circumstances leading to Mujuru’s death as presented by the Vice President. The duty of the media is to inform the public about what is happening in the country without fear or favour and it should keep doing so.”