Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter—
THERE was yet another break-in at Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office on Tuesday night and Government yesterday expressed concern at continuous attempts on his life as it pledged to bring the culprits to book.This is the sixth time unidentified culprits have tampered with Cde Mnangagwa’s offices in Government and at party level. Acting President Mnangagwa’s offices have been broken into four times at the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and once at Defence House when he was Defence Minister.
His offices at Zanu-PF Headquarters in Harare were broken into by unknown elements in 2014 who laced his desk with cyanide, poisoning his secretary who had to be hospitalised. In the latest break-in at the Government Complex, the culprits drilled a ceiling panel to gain entry.
There were no indications if anything had been stolen. Officials from security departments with sniffer dogs and the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe visited the offices yesterday to carry out investigations.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Christopher Mushohwe said Government was concerned with relentless break-ins at Acting President Mnangagwa’s offices. “This is the sixth time that this kind of break-in has happened at the offices of the Acting President.
“We are concerned, especially with this one because you can see the holes that they drilled and pulled the ceiling from the roof and used the hole as an entrance. We do not know what they wanted here or what they have done or taken from the office because experts are yet to do thorough investigations.”
Minister Mushohwe said it was clear the incessant negative reports by the private media, particularly the Daily News, against Acting President Mnangagwa were a precursor to the break-in at the offices. The whole of this week, the Daily News has been leading with stories that portrayed a negative picture of Acting President Mnangagwa.
On Monday, the paper led with a story headlined “Mnangagwa begs Mugabe . . . as VP feels heat of Zanu- PF’s brutal succession wars”. On Tuesday they led with a story titled: “VP allies face Zanu-PF sack . . . as Midlands succession wars continue to escalate. Yesterday they had a headline story titled: “Mnangagwa in a corner as G40 minister gets bullet parcel”.
Said Minister Mushohwe: “We are concerned because this then looks like it is the climax of the persistent negative media reports on the person of the Acting President that we are witnessing from certain sections of the media including today’s paper of one such media house.
“Then we get persuaded to think that all those stories were a build-up to this kind of mischief. But the law enforcement agents will do their work and we will get to know the results. I must also say the police, I think, are still working and we want to continue to work on the issue of the Zanu-PF one because that one cannot just be dismissed as a non-event where cyanide was put on the desk.
“We await to see what results will come out. Certainly as Government we are concerned and whoever is responsible for this must understand that Government cannot allow this to continue to happen.
“The pattern suggests that the same perpetrators who did it the last time who used that panel used this panel. So they know the nature of the panels here.” Minister Mushohwe said it was clear the culprits were familiar with the architecture of the building as they gained entry through the ceiling. He said Government would work flat out to ensure those responsible were brought to book.
Minister Mushohwe, who together with the Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba and principal director Mr Regis Chikowore respectively, visited Acting President Mnangagwa’s offices yesterday to have an appreciation of what transpired, said Cde Mnangagwa was not moved by the latest action but wanted the law to take its course.
“The Acting President’s reaction is that this is not the first time that he has experienced it. He knows that some people have been making some attempts on his life. You know he is a lawyer who respects the law. He wants the law enforcement agents to do their work and then when the results are out then Government will take the necessary action
“If the intention was to intimidate him then they do not know the person of the Acting President because he is not easily intimidated by this kind of thing.
“Naturally as a nation, we are taken aback. We do not expect this kind of thing to be done on the Acting President because whoever is doing it must have malicious intentions. As Government, correct measures will be taken once the culprits are identified. We hope that law enforcement agents will do a thorough job to make sure that the perpetrators are brought to book,” said Minister Mushohwe.
Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said investigations were underway to establish if anything had been stolen. “We are not very sure of the motive whether it is to gain entry or to insert objects. But this is what was done and you can see the evidence.
“So far we cannot confirm whether there was any access into the room. All we can say is that the ceiling was tampered with, with two very visible holes which were possibly drilled. We are not sure of the motive and we have not fully assessed what else could have been done in this office.
“We cannot rule out foul play or anything that is potentially dangerous to the life of the Vice President because we wonder what the motive could be to come during the night and do such a thing. We are actually very worried as to why such things continue to happen,” Mrs Mabhiza said.