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Break-in At Zimbabwe Acting President's Office Stokes Tensions in Zanu PF

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa,

The office of Zimbabwe’s acting president Emmerson Mnangagwa has been broken into for the fourth time causing serious tensions in the ruling Zanu-PF party torn apart by factionalism as the battle to succeed president Robert Mugabe intensifies.

The break in is said to have happened Tuesday night at Mnangagwa’s office which is situated on the 6th floor of the New Government Complex along Central Avenue in the capital Harare.

Mnangagwa is now the Acting President, taking over from Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who has been acting since President Mugabe went on his annual leave to the Far East since December 24, 2015.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police dispatched investigators to the office Wednesday. Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba declined to comment on the ongoing investigation referring questions to information minister Chris Mushowe who had rushed to the scene.

But efforts to reach Mushowe and Mnangagwa were futile as they did not pick up their mobile phones. Mnangagwa’s party office at the Zanu-PF headquarters was also broken into on the 10th of December 2014.

Speaking at Zanu-PF headquarters in the capital Harare then, president Robert Mugabe was quoted by the state leaning Herald newspaper as saying: “We are aware of people who really want to harm us, physical harm also … The offices of comrade Mnangagwa were broken into last night and poisonous powder is spread all over the desk and so on.

“That powder, which when the door opens and there is that flash of air will be blown up and then he would breathe it.”

Mugabe added: “So it was not Mnangagwa who opened the door, it was the secretary (Catherine Magaya) who opened the door and poor girl there she was, she breathed it and she is a mess. She is in intensive care just now … Why? Why? Why? We want investigations to be done. I am just warning you that it’s not always those who smile at us who are our friends. Take care.”

The latest break in is also coming days after sports minister Makhosini Hlogwani alleged that a bullet had been left at his Crown Plaza hotel room. Party insiders said they are concerned by the incidents.

The insiders are linking the break ins and threats to the nasty succession brawl between two of the post-congress Zanu PF factions that are allegedly linked to Mnangagwa and the party’s ambitious Young Turks, who are known as the Generation 40 (G40), a faction that includes First Lady Grace Mugabe and Local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere,

Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya, director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute says political tensions in the party are a cause for serious concern should they drag in the securocrats.

Mr Mugabe in December at his party's annual conference in the resort town of Victoria Falls said the military and other security services were supporting different candidates to succeed him, warning that this could ruin the ruling party.

Mr Mugabe, who turns 92 next month and is the world's oldest president, said one of the major problems confronting the party was ambitious officials angling for positions, which was destabilizing the organization.