MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa is reported to have been warned by the military not to associate with former president Robert Mugabe. There are fears that Mugabe who still feels betrayed by his ouster in November could choose to sabotage his successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa by explicitly endorsing Chamisa. Security sources and Zanu-PF officials who spoke to The Zimbabwe Independent said,
There are serious concerns within the top Zanu PF leadership and security circles that Mugabe might at the eleventh hour move to spoil Mnangagwa’s party. Right from the beginning, there was a plan to contain him because after any military takeover, either the incumbent is forced into exile, arrested and detained or is killed. In this case, nothing of the sort happened to Mugabe. He was only restricted to his home.
…The strategy is if he can’t endorse Mnangagwa, then he mustn’t go to Chamisa; he must be managed or contained. His involvement in politics, as we have already seen in the background, can cause problems.
…Due to the factional fights over the years, Zanu PF is now very weak, particularly in Mashonaland region. The party and the military know that without those provinces they cannot win elections; that’s why they are worried about the possibility of Mugabe endorsing Chamisa.
The Independent reports that two army colonels warned Chamisa to stop associating with Mugabe. An MDC Alliance principal who spoke to the Independent said,
They told us that murikudya mutupo nezvamuri kuita (it is taboo to work with Mugabe).
Zimbabwe Defence Forces director of Public Relations, Colonel Overson Mugwisi denied that the military leadership was involved in threatening Chamisa and blamed rogue officers over the matter.
If there are people doing that, they are doing so individually and not at the instruction of their commanders.