STATE controlled media on Tuesday pulled down a story in which the country’s feared military issued a chilling warning to President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and Zanu PF politicians they accuse of attempts to decimate the ruling Zanu PF through targeted purges on party rivals.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Constantino Chiwenga on Monday called for a rare press briefing in which he scolded some unnamed Zanu PF politicians for sponsoring a systematic purge especially on war veterans.
Chiwenga boldly brandished the country’s constitution and declared the military under his command shall protect as he went on to order Zanu PF leaders to ensure that all those wishing to exercise their rights to vote during the upcoming Zanu PF elective congress were granted an equal opportunity.
Zanu PF’s internecine factional wars have climaxed with the recent sacking of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on alleged disloyalty and similar moves to stampede the ex-VP’s allies out of the party as the party seeks leadership renewal with the First Lady’s name featuring prominently among possible successors to the 93-year-old leader.
Chiwenga vowed to stop the membership carnage he said was fueled by counter revolutionaries.
The apparent threats of a military intervention into Zanu PF’s internal affairs was splashed in both local and international media while social media was also buzzing with the news.
But while State papers had initially reported on the matter, they surprisingly pulled down the stories in signs a higher authority had prevailed upon them to blackout the frightening news.
While there was no immediate explanation, the decision could be linked President Mugabe’s firm control of the State media which saw the Zimbabwean leader at one point scolding then Information and Publicity Minister Jonathan Moyo for targeting party rivals with negative reportage.
Information and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary George Charamba (pictured) was also dressed down at a Zanu PF rally earlier this year by teh First Lady, who accused the under-fire top civil servant of ignoring her philanthropic work while giving acres of media space to her Zanu PF rivals.
Government is also keen on controlling the flow of information potentially damaging to President Mugabe’s faltering rule as was witnessed by a directive to local broadcasters last year to blackout a wave of anti-government citizen protests that caught government unawares.