ATTORNEY-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, arrested three weeks ago for alleged abuse of office, was reportedly part of former Zanla ge
neral staff that met in Harare in March and resolved that it was time President Robert Mugabe left office.
Zanla was the military wing of Zanu during the liberation struggle of the 1970s.
The arrest of Gula-Ndebele was allegedly part of Mugabe’s succession battle that signaled the beginning of a crackdown against a camp in Zanu PF that wanted Vice-President Joice Mujuru to succeed the octogenarian.
Impeccable sources said the onslaught on the faction led by retired army general Solomon Mujuru was aimed at whipping the camp members into supporting Mugabe ahead of the ruling party’s five-day special congress in December.
Gula-Ndebele is linked to the Mujuru faction.
The AG was arrested on allegations that he met fugitive former NMBZ deputy director James Mushore and assured him he would not be arrested for alleged foreign currency externalisation.
But the sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that the alleged participation of Gula-Ndebele in the former Zanla general staff meeting in March, his failure to prosecute over 50 MDC activists accused of petrol bombings and constant clashes with Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, had irked Mugabe.
“There were two meetings of the former Zanla general staff in Harare at the beginning of the year where it was resolved that they approach Mugabe and tell him to quit,” one of the sources said. “The meetings were attended by Mujuru, retired general Vitalis Zvinavashe and Gula-Ndebele, among others.”
The sources said Gula-Ndebele and an influential group of former Zanla soldiers, who backed Mugabe to seize control of Zanu during a turbulent period of the liberation struggle in Mozambique in mid-1970s, had reportedly lured former Mugabe personal assistant in Mozambique, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to see if they could confront the president and tell him to retire.
It is understood Mnangagwa refused to be part of the sensitive mission.
The sources said Mugabe refused to meet the group and has since that time been looking for an opportune moment for a counter-attack. It is said as a result, a ruthless campaign is now underway to wipe out the Mujuru faction.
During an interview to mark his 83rd birthday in February, Mugabe for the first time uncharacteristically attacked the Mujuru faction, accusing it of trying to oust him. He, however, said the group had lost the plot.
Since then Mugabe is said to have been fighting back all the way, especially after the Mujuru faction frustrated his efforts to secure endorsement during a crucial Zanu PF central committee meeting on March 30.
The Mujuru camp, riding on the crest of a wave of unprecedented success against Mugabe at the party’s Goromonzi conference in December last year where it blocked the octogenarian’s 2010 plan, thwarted the president’s bid for endorsement.
This forced party spokesmen to lie to cover up the embarrassing failure.
Mugabe was not endorsed to be the Zanu PF candidate at the meeting. He was only endorsed last month.
The Mujuru faction was defeated during the politburo and central committee meetings last month where Mugabe emerged on top of the situation.
Mugabe was all but endorsed as candidate at the meetings where the Mujuru camp not only failed to block him but also ended up tacitly supporting him. Prior to that on September 5, Mujuru had climbed down at a politburo meeting where he told Mugabe that there were people lying to him saying he wanted to oust the Zanu PF first secretary.
Senior Zanu PF officials said it was the first clearest indication they got that Mujuru and his faction were backtracking on their mission to confront Mugabe head-on over the contentious party leadership.