Zimbabwe: Bomb scare

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There has been a bomb scare at a building where presidential candidate Dr Simba Makoni was addressing his campaign team, renewing earlier fears that the intelligence services have made him their number one target.

From our correspondent in Harare

The former Finance Minister who is challenging Mr Robert Mugabe in the March 29 polls, Dr Makoni, aborted the meeting with his top officials after an alarm was triggered off at Old Mutual Centre in the morning.

Old Mutual Centre is owned by life assurance company, Old Mutual Zimbabwe. The building houses many tenants including the Standard Chartered Bank among other high profile entities.

People who were queuing for British and American visas scurried in all directions when an alarm went off in the building, forcing the
housekeeper to call for immediate evacuation of all occupants of the
building at the time.

Among the people who were forced to go nine floors below were Dr Makoni and his election team who were in the middle of a “crucial” meeting, according to one of his officials.

Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi, one of the co-ordinating members of Makoni’s election drive said that they were forced to abort the meeting “after a bomb scare”.

Said Mbudzi: “In the history of the building, we were told that it had
never happened that alarms — both fire and explosives — could go off
simultaneously. We were forced to abandon our meeting as everyone occupying the building was evacuated.

“It is hard to ignore what has happened to us in the past few weeks and we have no doubts that this is the work of our enemies.”

Dr Makoni believes the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is on a dirty campaign against him to frustrate his bid to upstage Mr Mugabe on March 29.

Last week, Dr Makoni’s team claimed that they were frustrated in their bid to secure properties for their election headquarters, and also refused
registration numbers for their election vehicles.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been fingered as a willing partner in the CIO project after sending “guards” to protect new premises which
incidentally had been identified for occupation by Dr Makoni.

A defiant Mbudzi says they won’t be cared or cowed into submission by these terror tactics. “Our candidate realises the battle we face to rescue Zimbabwe. He is up for that battle.”

Dr Makoni has courted the ire of Mr Mugabe and his henchmen since he broke away from Zanu PF to declare he is vying for the top job on February 5. Mugabe has come out fighting, smearing the suave former executive secretary of SADC as a “political prostitute, witch, charlatan and British stooge”.

Dr Makoni has pledged to revive the country’s economy which is crumbling under the burden of the world’s highest inflation at over 100 000%.

Mr Mugabe faces Makoni and leader of a faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, in elections which are likely to define the future of the troubled southern African nation.

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