Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson Douglas Mahiya said they suspected that the attack could have been engineered by members of the G40 faction who remained in government and top party structures following former President Robert Mugabe’s ouster last November.
The faction, some of whose members have morphed into the opposition National Patriotic Front, was viciously opposed to then Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to take over from Mugabe.
“War veterans demand that the culprits be brought to book. The evil political machinations of G40 and enemies of the Zimbabwean revolution cannot be ruled out as suspects. We also don’t rule out the evil acts as an inside job, time will tell,” Mahiya said.
He said while the association condemned the attack, they wanted police to release information on the attacks.
“The ZNLWVA condemns in the strongest terms the barbaric, cowardly acts of terrorism in the Bulawayo bombing. War veterans will always remember this and continue to demand more information and that our national security will go to the bottom of the matter,” he said.
Zanu PF youth league secretary Pupurai Togarepi told journalists in Harare that they also suspected “enemies surrounding Mnangagwa” as responsible for the Saturday attack.
“So as war veterans are saying and as any other Zimbabwean will think, maybe it could be those elements who used to enjoy things that they can’t enjoy now because we have a straight forward President. So they may be tempted to kill him to create instability. I can’t give you the list of my suspects, it’s so long, but I am hurt,” he said.
The youth league leader came short of naming names, but indicated that it could have been an inside job which could involve people around Mnangagwa, who used to enjoy huge benefits in Mugabe’s era.
Togarepi also called on his charges to provide a human shield to the party’s top leadership.
“The terrain features have changed so has our approach going forward. We are not going to tolerate behaviour that is suspicious, from today onwards. As the youth league, we stand to defend the revolution, to defend our leadership … from now onwards we offer ourselves as a human shield, to our President, to our leadership to the people of Zimbabwe. We know they are targeting our President, they want to maim, kill him, but that will mean disaster for our future as the youth. So from today onwards, all members of the youth league are called upon to defend the President, and we will defend him with our lives in all circumstances, wherever he is we shall be, and when he falls and if he is to be killed by anybody, that person should kill all of us,” he said.
During Mugabe’s days, members of the State security used to enjoy lofty benefits in the form of travel and subsistence allowances which were paid in hard currency, as they accompanied the 94-year-old former leader to various foreign trips. At times they would travel outside the country for more than four times a month.
Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu yesterday condemned the incident while addressing delegates at an event where several parties signed a peace pledge ahead of next month’s polls.
“We are all aware of the sad incident in Bulawayo, and such barbaric acts cannot be condoned and cannot be a precedent for elections. One of my sons was affected by that explosion, and yesterday I visited those injured including Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, and we cannot condone this evil deed,” he said.
“There is also a tendency to capitalise on the affected families when in fact you have not experienced violence yourself. I actually have experienced violence before independence and some violence after independence, and we feel that as leaders that should not be our pre-occupation.
“Even those proponents of past incidents that have occurred around the country have not been where some of us have been because we come from those areas. I am from there, but I never talk about things that would create emotions amongst our people.”
Speaking at the same event, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission chairperson Elasto Mugwadi condemned the Bulawayo incident, describing it as a “senseless act’’.
“The senseless act that happened last Saturday ought to be unreservedly condemned by all peace-loving Zimbabweans. In protecting human rights, we all need to respect the sanctity of life. It is an appeal to all political parties that as we approach July 30, we should all try to control our emotions, and abhor hate speech and provocative sloganeering,” he said.
Meanwhile, the 43rd Plenary Assembly Session of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum (Sadc PF) got underway in Luanda with Angolan President Joao Lourenco denouncing suspected bomb attacks at White City Stadium.
Officially opening the Sadc PF Plenary Session on Monday, Lourenco said the attack was “cowardly, criminal and undemocratic”.
Lourenco said the attacks in Bulawayo and Addis Ababa Ethiopia — where Prime Minister Abiy was addressing supporters in Meskel Square when an explosion ripped through the crowd killing two people, and leaving 156 injured — were meant to undermine efforts that are ongoing toward holding democratic elections, particularly in Zimbabwe.
China also condemned the attack.
“The Chinese government strongly condemns the political violence perpetuated at the White City Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and wishes to express its sincere condolences to the relatives of the deceased,” the Chinese government said in a statement.
“China sincerely hopes that the forthcoming harmonised elections in Zimbabwe will be held in a smooth and peaceful manner and Zimbabwe will continuously maintain stability and achieve continued development and prosperity on its way forward.”