POLICE, CIO IN CUSTODY AS MILITARY TAKES CHARGE OF INVESTIGATION INTO MNANGAGWA EXPLOSION




Three members of the police force (two men and one woman) and four members of the Central Intelligence Organisation are said to be in military custody tonight as investigations into the explosion at White City Stadium have taken a swift turn.  There is uncertainty about where exactly they are being held.

A fuming Vice President Chiwenga dismissed earlier attempts by the police to investigate the matter immediately after the explosion.

"They must first tell us the results of all the investigations they conducted into previous attempts on Shumba's life. They said they were investigating and we've not heard anything since. We are not fools."

Discussions around the incident immediately zeroed in on the fact that there were no policemen in the vicinity of the podium when the attack was launched.

Normal procedure is that, as the President and his entourage approach or leave the stage, a cordon of police stands in front of the crowd primarily to hold back any excited attendees who may try to rush the stage or the entourage. Police are also supposed to surround the podium, with one string directly in front of the crowd, their backs turned to that crowd, and the second string around the podium or stage, facing the crowd.

The arrangement is said to have even been beefed up after the breach of Mnagagwa's secure circle a few weeks ago, when an excited Councillor candidate made it onto the stage and had to be pushed away by Mnagagwa himself as he pressed in on him.

Mnangagwa himself has been dead set against the Mugabe-style security arrangement. The former president's close security was distrustful of everyone, including cabinet ministers. Mnagagwa found the security arrangement stifling.

In discussions in the immediate aftermath of the explosion while Mnangagwa's entourage was at Bulawayo State House, Chiwenga asked President Mnangagwa, "Should we assume that we have no police force in the country. The military played their part here. The dais was swept and secured."

Security arrangements since the new administration was inaugurated have been anchored in the principle of sending soldiers back to the barracks and handing civilian security measures back to the police. The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has also been severely restricted in their activities. The Organisation remains officially a Department in the President's Office, but their previous deep pockets have been eliminated. There are no more allowances for sitting around in bars, drinking and eavesdropping.

The Organisation has also been barred now from counter-opposition activities and members are said to be mostly twiddling their thumbs amidst deep uncertainty about what lies ahead for them after the elections.

We understand that immediate evidence for the detention of the people in military custody tonight came primarily from cellphone footage taken from within the VIP tent as Mnagagwa left the stage. This footage, we understand, has not yet been made public.

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