Police last week said they had not made any headway in identifying the people who allegedly broke into Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s offices recently, amid suspicion the burglaries are politically-motivated.
A fortnight ago unknown people allegedly broke into the vice-president’s office at the highly-protected New Government Complex and it remains unclear if they stole anything.
The break-in was the fourth at Mnangagwa’s government offices, while two other break-ins happened at his other offices at the Zanu PF headquarters.
A crack team that includes all the country’s security agencies was set up to probe the latest break-in after the government expressed concern at the frequency of the burglaries.
Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said investigations were yet to bear fruit.
“Investigations are underway. If we get something to tell the media, we will tell you but for now investigations are still underway,” she said.
However, State-controlled media columnist Nathaniel Manheru — widely believed to be President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba — indicated in his recent installment that Mnangagwa’s enemies were out to destroy the VP because of succession politics.
He said those fighting the VP in Zanu PF had connived with Mujuru in a grand plan to fight Mnangagwa on the mistaken belief that he would be the Zanu PF presidential candidate in 2018.
Some political analysts say failure by police to solve the crimes could be an indication that it was an inside job.
Police recently said they referred cases of two previous break-ins at Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF offices back to the ruling party but they refused to divulge reasons for the action.
Analysts said the frequency of the break-ins had become too suspicious.
“The office of the VP is a high-security establishment which raises concern that any break-in would be politically-motivated, especially when you have four such break-ins with no arrests and happening within the space of a year,” political analyst Dewa Mavhinga said.
“It points to political shenanigans and infighting where opponents of the VP may be clandestinely fishing for information or so- called evidence to pin the VP and get rid of him.
“It is obvious this is no ordinary crime and no ordinary criminal would risk their life breaking into Mnangagwa’s office to steal nothing of value.”
Mavhinga said the probability that the crimes were stage-managed could not be ruled out.
“That cannot be ruled out either, and unfortunately, Zanu PF factionalism has spilled into the police and we cannot expect police to investigate impartially and professionally,” he said.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said the matter was bound to raise a lot of suspicions.
“No one other than the perpetrators know the truth and the motive behind those break-ins,” he said.
“On the basis of scanty evidence, it would look like it’s more political [than criminal].
“Police could be more effective and efficient if they put more commitment to apprehending the criminals across the political divide.
“That creates speculation that it is stage- managed or politically-motivated, especially when nothing was stolen.”
Southern African Political and Economic Series Trust director Ibbo Mandaza said government must self-introspect as the break-ins said a lot about infighting in Zanu PF.
However, Mnangagwa’s allies said it was impossible that the crimes were being stage-managed.
“Seriously, how can the VP stage manage such a thing? This is a laughable allegation from the guilty,” said a close ally of the VP.
“There is a group of people who have been fighting him since the day he assumed office as vice-president.
“There are people who vowed not to rest until they see him down. Fortunately, Ngwena [Mnangagwa’s nickname] is stronger than this.
“In short, this is purely a waste of time for those plotting his downfall.”
In the build up to last year’s Zanu PF conference in Victoria Falls, Mnangagwa came under pressure from opponents in the ruling party who wanted him demoted for allegedly harbouring ambitions to succeed Mugabe.
One of the plots saw some members of the Zanu PF women’s league pushing hard to have the VP replaced by a female candidate through the reintroduction of the women’s quota in the presidium.
The proposal got a lot of buy-in from a group called Generation 40 (G40), which is allegedly fighting Mnangagwa in the race to succeed Mugabe, who turns 92 next month.