By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
27 May 2014
President Robert Mugabe’s authority appears to be under challenge from several security chiefs who are defying a politburo directive to vacate the lucrative wildlife conservancies in the Lowveld.
The daily Newsday newspaper reported on Tuesday that security chiefs embroiled in the fight to control Mjingwe Ranch in Mwenezi have defied a ZANU PF politburo directive for them not to grab the lucrative venture.
Those after the land are Brigadier-General Josphat Kudumba, Police Assistant Commissioner Elliot Muswita and Army Captain Solomon Ndlovu, who have threatened the eviction of white owner Darryl Collett, who is in a partnership with local traditional chiefs.
Collett operates the Ranch with an investment partner from South Africa called Alastair Forsyth. The paper said Collett has reportedly fled to Bulawayo for his safety.
Last month President Mugabe attacked the security elites for their greediness during a ZANU PF special politburo meeting in Harare and tasked the Masvingo provincial Affairs Minister, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti to see to it that security chiefs surrender the conservancy areas.
Our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme said the policies to grab the ranches were crafted with the help of the same security chiefs who are now being ordered to vacate the places.
‘Simple logic will tell you that they will resist because these are populist policies that ZANU PF has been using for years to attract votes and whose implementation was supervised by members of the security forces.
‘So to turn around and ask them to relinquish these properties will certainly signal a big fight between Mugabe and members of his trusted security clusters,’ Saungweme said.
Some observers have noted that the ZANU PF government is using rhetoric to try to convince international investors that investments are safe in Zimbabwe. So this latestso-called about turn by the Politburo could be just another bout of rhetoric that is meaningless, and the security chiefs are aware that they can safely stay where they are.