STATE terrorism has escalated in Zimbabwe with Sunday’s bomb attack on the independent newspaper, the Daily News.
Only the Zimbabwe Corps of Engineers and three Special Forces units could have access to the Chinese or Russian-made TM46 anti-tank landmines that destroyed the presses – and the technical expertise to carry out such a professional sabotage, says Michael Quintana, editor of Africa Defence Journal, who identified the landmines used.
So far the armed forces’ role in Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s repressive domestic campaign has been to provide trucks and fuel to farm invaders and to grab land. Farm invasions and rural intimidation hinged on the Zanu-PF militia and the Central Intelligence Organisation, with the army backing up logistics.
The bombing shows a qualitative jump in army involvement, coupled with arrogant disregard for self-incrimination – a signature bombing.
“I have no doubt in my mind that this was done with the knowledge of the highest office in the land,” says Trevor Ncube, editor and publisher of The Independent.
Hours before the bombing, the Minister for Information, Jonathan Moyo, and war veteran leader Dr Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi vowed to silence the Daily News. The pretext was the paper’s report on popular joy at the death of Democratic Republic of Congo strongman Laurent Kabila.
In less than two years of existence, the Daily News has seen its circulation soar to 150_000 at the height of the parliamentary elections last year while government mouthpiece The Herald plummeted by half to 70_000.
Meanwhile, an attempt is being made to restore the honour of Zimbabwe’s war veterans.
“This is a de facto coup,” says Dzinashe Machingura, chair of the Zimbabwe Liberators’ Platform (ZLP), formed in June last year to restore the honour of war veterans, the ideals of the liberation struggle and good governance in Zimbabwe. “There is no longer constitutional rule in Zimbabwe.”
Machingura (50) is a veteran of the liberation war and an outspoken critic of Mugabe, the man who is officially his patron. But Machingura and a bunch of other fighters accuse him of betraying the struggle. Nor do they recognise Hunzvi as their leader or a true war veteran.
“He was an office boy in Lusaka,” scoffs Machingura. “The media has made him big.”