Harare - Crack Angolan troops are on standby to fly to the aid of President Robert Mugabe and his beleaguered Zanu-PF should the need arise, according to senior military sources who are becoming increasingly concerned about the turn of events.
They maintain that Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has assured Mugabe that battle-hardened troops who have seen action in the DRC conflict are ready to fly to the aid of Zanu-PF in the face of "an imperialist onslaught".What this indicates is that Mugabe and the ruling party can no longer rely on the unswerving loyalty of his armed forces, if he steals the March 29 election and provokes violent resistance.
While the top brass in the military generally support the system, the same cannot be said for many other officers. Among the ordinary ranks who, along with their families, have suffered in the desperate economic conditions, there is widespread disgruntlement.Significantly, much of the reported terror being conducted against suspected opposition supporters in the rural areas is being carried out by Zanu-PF youth militia rather than the army or police.
The existence of these gangs of young thugs and the manner in which they are conducting themselves has also contributed to the disquiet within the military and, perhaps to a lesser degree, among the police.Given rudimentary military training and immunity from prosecution, they have been turned loose in a number of areas.
In the rural Mashonaland constituency of Mutoko North, the local chairperson of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Themba Muronde was last week beaten to death by "Green Bombers" as the youth militia are known.According to family members who have sought refuge in Harare, Muronde was dragged from his home on Sunday and severely beaten.He was still unable to move when the "Bombers" returned 24 hours later.
They dragged him from his home and beat him, apparently to death, before taking his body with them.Frightened families from rural areas in which the Bombers are operating are continuing to drift into Harare.Meanwhile, the An Yue Jiang and its consignment of weapons destined for Zimbabwe continued to mystify as it appeared on Tuesday to do another about turn and to start the long haul back home to China.
On Tuesday the container ship was spotted off Cape Town and by mid-afternoon it had apparently abandoned its attempt to dock in Namibia or Angola, and turned around to head back around the South African coast.
Source: The Independent, SA