Zimbabwe: Open Warfare, Police vs Army on 01 December

This is a scene from downtown Harare today, as a soldier walks past a shop looted by rampaging soldiers


I put up a post a few hours ago explaining what I saw of the fight between police and army at Fourth Street Terminus in Harare. I had no idea just what carnage the soldiers had caused until I left the office a little while back. However, this is not what anyone thinks it is. There is method to this whole madness. It is minutely planned.
The soldiers have smashed shopfronts along both Jason Moyo and Nelson Mandela Avenue. On my way home I passed shop after shop with glass shattered and strewn all over the pavement. As those of you who were on the site are aware, I witnessed the start of the fight from my office. We are (un)lucky to have offices overlooking Fourth Street bus terminus, also known as Roadport, which is where the soldiers have been going daily since Friday and causing havoc.
I know most of you think this is the beginning of a mutiny in the ranks of Mugabe's soldiers and at the surface it would appear that way.

First of all, you have to realise that the information I have is coming from inside sources. Second, you also must realise that these incidents are directly linked to the bombing of police stations around Harare this last month (October). The sources who explained what is happening happened to be speaking to someone they trust deeply in my presence and I can assure that the information you are about to read was told only to this person and I. Obviously, you will see this inside information being published by the usual online journals who are now in the habit if visiting here and taking my posts to publish as news of their own. But I am not complaining! This is too important a story and must be shared.
Anyway, here's the thing: This is no mutiny. This is a planned and calculated action and it is not going to stop any time soon. At least not until the final planned action, a State of Emergency. The authorities here in Zim have now made up their minds that the police are sabotaging the efforts to reign in rampant illegal dealings. They think that the police force in Zimbabwe is now passively rebelling against Mugabe, by letting foreign currency dealers and other "criminals" go about their dealings without arresting them. They also suspect strongly that it is the police force that is bombing its own stations, as even the Police Commissioner himself said after the first bomb a few weeks ago. But this is not the main motivation for what you are seeing here. It is only part of a larger strategy by Mugabe, designed specifically to create the conditions necessary for a State of Emergency. The police are not part of this plan, but the bombs come in handy for this strategy.
It was confirmed to me today, before I heard this inside source speaking, that soldiers are being paid their money at the barracks. I was at my bank earlier that day and was discussing the matter of the soldiers with my manager as general chit-chat when he specifically mentioned that they have always been taking money to the barracks and paying soldiers out in situ. The army commanders have told banks that they should turn away any soldier trying to withdraw cash in town, because tellers are paying out at barracks, so there is no truth to the rumour that the soldiers are going on a rampage after failing to withdraw cash.
Instead, four members of the Joint Operations Council, without the approval or knowledge of the Police Commissioner-General, Augustine Chihuri, managed to convince Mugabe that the police are now complicit in the "financial crimes that are ravaging the country." But this action is not directed at the police as I will explain just now. The police have simply given Mugabe an additional arrow to put into his quiver. The bombs themselves are not a part of this plan and that is why Chihuri is being kept in the dark. No member of the police force is part of this strategy to bring about a state of emergency. This is important to note.
Before he left for Doha, Mugabe approved an operation Final End Times/Magumo Zvamuchese. Its internal acronym in the army is FEET, which they think is quite funny seeing as they will be making people flee. This is an operation in which the army have basically been given authority to usurp the role of the police, whom the JOC and Mugabe believe have failed, "either because they are demoralised or because they are simply not up to job."
The operation is not supposed to end until all places known to be "havens of forex dealers" are completely cleaned out. To do this effectively, the authorities believe, it is necessary to have a state of emergency. That is the ultimate aim. Primarily, this is about the economy, but ZANU PF hawks also believe that it will have the added bonus of effectively making the talks redundant. It is an intricate and very crafty strategy, astonishing for its inventiveness when it is laid bare. And it is working, because virtually publication in the world has swallowed the bait and thinks this is the beginning of a rebellion against Mugabe. It is working as Mugabe planned. So far.
Gideon Gono's concurrent clampdown on "white collar crime"and "indiscipline" is supposed to, in the words of the originators of this plan, "decapitate the beast while the army deals with the body". More importantly, Gono features in this story because, starting Thursday, people will be allowed to withdraw $100 million in one transaction per week. This is a lot of money (my bank manager claims not to earn that much per month from his job). The government believes that when Thursday comes and if nothing is done about these money-changers, the price of the US dollar will rise stupendously, fuelling inflation to even higher levels and frustrating Mugabe's efforts to bring the economy back to some form of stable footing. Under Section 53 of the Emergency rule laws of Zimbabwe, "violation of exchange control" or suspicion that one is about violate exchange control get special attention and would, in the eyes of the government, help in dealing with the "extraordinary threat" this crime is posing to economic security.
The real story, therefore, is not Police vs Army, but Army vs Money-changers, in order to create conditions the world will accept as making a state emergency inevitable. It is just that the police do not know what the army are up to and, "professionally", they are responding to disturbances in the city centre in the manner Mugabe taught them - send in the riot squad and disperse the mob, even if that mob are soldiers. The soldiers in turn resent the police interfering in what they know to be a legitimate operation and they respond by trying to chase away riot police, to leave them to do their job. The soldiers are not aware if the grander plan. They think they are being asked to deal with money-changers once and for all and are not aware how their actions will be used later on next week to achieve the main goal of all this.
The police have been left completely out of this plan because they simply are not trusted anymore. Ask yourself this: soldiers have been "running amok" since Friday last week. Everyday they are on the streets doing this. If this is a mutiny, why has discipline not been enforced? Why are military police amongst the soldiers doing these things? Why, if this is a "mutiny" have soldiers not been confined to barracks? Why are they being let out, driven to specific points and then safely going back to barracks without facing any music there from their superiors? More importantly, ask yourself this: has Mugabe rushed back to Zimbabwe from Middle East where is currently attending a conference? Why not?
Look, it is difficult for a layman to understand this deeply crafty strategy, how to connect the police to the army. This strategy, which has so far managed to fool the world, can be broken down to:
1. The army "rebels", goes on the rampage
2. The State declares a State of Emergency
3. The state of emergency allows the state to (a) rule without the MDC (b) deal "decisively" with the biggest headache it will face after this: the economy, through allowing extraordinary measures to be taken against any "financial terrorist", a phrase you will start hearing a lot about from next week at the earliest.
If you grasp this, then you understand immediately why Mugabe is now not afraid of Chitongai tione."
So, in essence then, the soldiers are deliberately being let out to punish foreign currency dealers, who the government believe are the root cause of the economic problems we face because they are the ones deliberately pushing up forex rates to drive Mugabe out of power. Theirs is a specific mission they have been given and they believe that's all there is to it. They have not been told of the bigger picture.
Another angle to all this is the "looting" of shops. The shops being "looted" are not just any shops. If you care to check, you will see that specific shops owned by two groups of people, are being targeted:
1. The groups in Zimbabwe who are known to be active in dealing in forex: (there is a racial connotation to this, which I will not dignify with an explanation, but all you Zimbabweans know what I am talking about). These are groups of people known not to go to banks even when things are "normal" in the country. Gono has publicly warned them before, I think about two years ago or a year and a half. The government believes that these are the people who fuel the black market because they take their daily cash takings and buy US dollars with them. They are, in the words of one source,"the handmaidens of the money-changers and foreign interests".
2. Prominent businessmen, very successful, who are known to be supporters of the opposition (financially). One of them does not live in Zimbabwe anymore but his business is doing extremely well here. The reasoning behind targeting this group is simple as explained in my presence: you are supporting people who are hitting the economic interests of Zimbabwe, in the hope of bringing Mugabe down, so now we will hit your economic interests. Right back at ya!

But this is only preparation. It is almost certain now that after this exercise has been allowed to run its course, our source does not know the time frame, the current illegitimate government of Zimbabwe will have created sufficient cause to impose a proper state of emergency, complete with proper martial law. The government now believes that this is what is required to restore economic order as well as to allow ZANU PF to continue in power without SADC raising eyebrows and without the MDC. Parliament, the MDC's trump card, is now redundant.
What is certain is that the civilian courts will be suspended and white collar crime, including money-changing and all the other acts classified as "financial crimes" under the current sweeping laws will be tried by the military courts. At this time, I am unable to rule out the imposition of mandatory death sentences for those found guilty.

Search through the pages of this blog and you will see that almost two weeks ago, I predicted exactly this while analysing Mugabe's possible reaction to the breakdown of talks. The whole charade about the soldiers, which most publication on the Internet and in print are reporting at face value, is so that Mugabe has a strong case to present to SADC heads of state on why a State of Emergency was unavoidable. It would be hard for him to get their support if he simply said it was necessary because Morgan refused to join him and therefore made running the country through parliament impossible (because MDC have a majority there).
While the world is looking at the story of soldiers rebelling, gleefully and hopefully reporting their smashing of shop fronts and looting, Mugabe, the past-master at survival (a phrase I have borrowed from the BBC), is actually implementing a strategy that will catch everyone by surprise. By the time they realise what is happening, it will be too late (remember the land invasions, dismissed by everyone before they happened as "He would be mad to do that!")
Already, this evening, while I was still in the office, I got an example of just how wrongly the opposition community is reading this. I got a text message that "soldiers are running amok, chaos everywhere, there will be a demo by ZCTU and NCA.....please pass on". I have deliberately left out the date because I do not want to alert the wrong people before the fact, but I am sure they already know. Anyway, I do not like to think I contributed to what will happen to them this week when their demo is quashed. And it will be quashed.
This is because they mistakenly think that the soldiers will join them and beat back the police. They won't. The soldiers have not rebelled against Mugabe. Which is why Mugabe has not rushed back home from the middle east where he is attending a UN conference. He knows exactly what is happening. And he knows why. And he knows he is safe.
I would dearly love to have a discussion on this with you all. But I do understand if you are afraid to discuss such a frightening issue "on paper". We Zimbabweans have always been like that, so I will understand if you all decide against commenting and debating this.

This is the strategy, unfolding as I explained a couple of weeks back. Make your stand, make your preparations with this in mind.


  1. Yah the old man is still too good in his game and it will not take any person or organisations who think with their emotions instead of the brains. Emotions aside and we will beat this old guard at their game.

    Soldiers rebelling against Bob? I don't see it happening in the near future. Us Zimbabweans we tend to get excited too soon before thinking outside the box and analyze the situation before we celebrate. If we do not know the kind of people leading this country we will continue to be ambushed.

    thanks danny for unfolding the plot for us

  2. why was chihuri left out from the grand plan? they might trust the general police, but does this mean they ve concluded that he is not one of them? this is interesting

  3. Den, I would like to admit that I am one of those who had thrown hands in the air and said "mutiny", yet - and I believe what you say -it's a choreographed thing! I wonder why people are so convinced that ruling with an iron fist can solve one's perceived problems. If anything, a repressed people are the most dangerous. I hope the who-is-who in the SADC will read your analysis and be ready to respond accordingly if someone tries to use this to declare a State of Emergency.

    Regional Diasporan

  4. I enjoyed reading the way you have read the situation and I must admit that you seem to have read it more correctly than the way I was seeing it. I thought it was bigger than the crafting of a state of emergency, thought it was creating havoc to induce conditions for a coup de tat. I suspected that an army general or army generals were behind it. They probably thought civilians at the Fourth Street bus-stop would join in the violence & looting until there is havoc in the whole city of Harare & in the confusion an army general would announce that he has taken over control of the country. The fact that all this was happenning while Mugabe was away is no coincidence. Anyway, the civilians saved the situation, instead of joining in the violence they ran away from the violence. That was just my thoughts & my imagination working overtime without any privileged information that Denford boasted about which he says no one else but himself can get.
    Denford rule number one in good journalism is, " Be discreet about your source", don't even hint about it like you did. Just get straight to the beef of the matter without even writing about how other online writers get ideas from your articles. Even if it might be true including such petty issues in your article puts a dent on an otherwise good article.

  5. Thanx Denford for enlightening us. Ini ndanga dakutoti ndiko kupera kweka dhara matibili. I was alreday celebrating just like i celebrated the signing of the 15 sept deal. I am so desperate for change , that any new hope brings me joy, however i always find disappointment at the end of the tunnel, like now! Thanx.

  6. Den, this is very interesting. i am a bit skeptical still that the regime would hatch such an elaborate plan. Mugabe has always been his own man, who doesnt care a hoot what SADC or the world thinks. He has been de facto ruling by decree in partnership with Gono, that I dont think he really even needs a cabinet or the parliament as everything is being decided by the JOC and politiburo. So why bother to go thru the whole charade of a state of emergency etc. kana vafunga kusunga vanhu vanongosunga and call it operation makola machena or whatever. my own reckoning is that Mugabe will be toppled by a combination of factors..general discontent over the economy..which is only going to get worse, the cash crunch (And further inflation if they go ahead with this 100million w/drawal business) exacerbated by a poor harvest in 2009 and finally cholera and lack of water really. My other concern is the manner in which opposition forces are going about taking advantage of this recent development...it should not be half measures and 1 day stay-aways or sporadic demos. What we need is a sustained onslaught if necessary for more than a month, to really bring the regime to its knees like the Thais have recently done.

  7. I think you are mistaken that Mugabe does not an elaborate ruse. Why did he agree to the talks? Why did he give in to demands? Why has he not just formed a government. you must understand that MUGABE IS EXTREMELY KEEN TO HAVE LEGITIMACY. He MUST, in his own mind, give the impression of ruling through parliament. He must give the impression that he has "won" an election. He is always saying "we have always held elections when they were due, we are democratic...."
    So, he will NEVER nakedly go out and simply impose his will shamelessly. The other thing is that, as you know, SA has withdrawn or suspended their aid to Zimbabwe "until an inclusive government is in place" He needs that aid, he wants it, but at the same time, does not really want to share power with MDC (he called a "humiliation a two weeks ago). So the "ruse" would have given him the chance to convince SADC that he had no choice but to impose emergency rule. With SADC blessing, he would have got legitimacy, even if USA/UK etc did not recognise him. He does not care about their opinion, but he cares tremendously about how his legitimacy is viewed by his fellow Africans.
    IT is all about his view of "legitimacy". THIS IS CRITICAL TO HIM

  8. Your predictions and accessments in this story have all proved false... do you care to explain why

    1) No state of emergency was called
    2) Why the GNU was sworn in yesterday

    I like reading your blog and enjoy your self congratulatory style... however, sometimes OH great PROPHET... u get things wrong...


  9. @Anonymous, I think you did not read the story at all. First of all, the state if emergency was a plan put in place IN CASE Tsvangirai refused to join the government. Read carefully please:

    If the MDC had refused as they were doing, to join government it would have been IMPOSSIBLE for Mugabe to run the country normally because he does not have a majority in parliament. He would not have been able to pass even the budget.

    To be able to run the country without a parliament, he would then have needed to find a plausible excuse to declare a state of emergency in order to be able to run the country without parliament and without the MDC.

    In fact, our new Finance Minister, Tendai Biti of the MDC, also saw the documents that detailed the State of Emergency and announced it at a press conference AFTER I had published it here.

    I do sympathise with you though, there lots of people like you whom I feel pity for because you are too LAZY to read through long articles. hence you miss the logic.

    Thinking things through and reading carefully gives some people headaches, so I understand.

    THe GNU was sworn in BECAUSE Tsvangirai capitulated and agreed to go into government. At no point did I say in this article that the GNU would not be sworn in if the MDC agreed to join hands with Mugabe on his terms, which is what they have done.

    Read the article again and then ask a more intelligent question.


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