Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's campaign for re-election in a ballot that has yet to be called has been outsourced to the country's military, sources say.
Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party has brought on board a number of recently retired and serving military officers as well to take charge of its crumbling structures, setting the stage for what sources said seems likely to be an extremely violent campaign.
The Joint Operations Command (JOC) is said to be playing a significant role in this process. The JOC, comprising all the senior securocrats, was supposed to have been disbanded to pave the way for an all inclusive National Security Council at the inception of the government unity, is apparently still meeting clandestinely.
The JOC has deployed Air Vice Marshal Henry Muchena to take over the position of ZANU-PF director of the commissariat.
Muchena, who retired Friday is deputised by another JOC appointee former Central Intelligence Organisation Director-Internal, Sydney Nyanhongo, at the party’s Harare headquarters.
Other senior officers who retired with Muchena Friday and would join the party ranks include Major Generals Sibangamuzi Khumalo, Etherton Shungu, Colonel Resten Magumise and Group Captain Sithabile Sibanda.
Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who officiated at the farewell party openly called upon other army officials to venture into politics.
"By the way there are some ill-informed citizens of out the country who think that ex-military service persons should not be in politics," said Mnangagwa.
"To the contrary, one has retired from active service, one can freely participate in politics at whatever level."
Party insiders and military initelligence sources told Studio 7 that about 300 serving army officials have been deployed through out the country.
They will work with some war veterans and youths who are allegedly being trained at Inkomo army barracks and those who have passed through the controversial national training service.
Sources said some senior army officials have also been deployed in all the country’s provinces with Brigadier General David Sigauke taking charge of Mashonaland West Province. Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba will be in charge in Manicaland Province, Retired Brigadier General Victor Rungani in Mashonaland East while Air Vice Marshal Abu Basutu will oversee ZANU-PF matters in Matabeleland South Province.
Sources said Major General Engelbert Rugeje, who was seconded to run Masvingo province but is now going to work with the Southern African Development Community, will temporarily be replaced by war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda.
Brigadier General Sibusio Bussie Moyo, Retired Brigadiers Khumalo, and Shungu will oversee matters in the provinces of Midlands, Matebeleland North and Mashonaland Central respectively.
Colonel Chris Sibanda and Air Commodore Mike Tichafa Karakadzai will be in charge of Bulawayo and Harare.
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said Muchena has joined their ranks officially. But political analyst Charles Mangongera said "the move by ZANU-PF is chilling".
Meanwhile, ZANU-PF has also launched a Party Ideological College at its Harare Headquaters aimed at "raising political and ideological consciousness while fostering unity within its structures and membership".
ZANU-PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo is qouted in the state controlled and ZANU-PF leaning Herald newspaper as saying the college will provide lectures such as "Characteristics of a Revolutinary Leader" among other annual courses.