President Emmerson Mnangagwa has renewed efforts to lure Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa into Zanu PF structures and government, this time sending a top military commander to engage the ex-home affairs minister.
Informed sources told the Zimbabwe Independent last week Mnangagwa was eager to have Dabengwa in government, although he was yet to reveal in what capacity.
Government officials revealed Mnangagwa dispatched the commander to meet Dabengwa and apprise him of his plans a fortnight ago. The two met in Bulawayo.
"At first, Dabengwa met a combined team of officers from the Central Intelligence Organisation's Bulawayo and Matabeleland North provinces. They told him their duty and assignment was to lay the groundwork for a meeting between him and a delegation from Harare," a source said.
"The final meeting between Dabengwa and the commander was held three weeks ago and it was a very secretive meeting.
The discussions revolved around him (Dabengwa) re-joining Zanu PF and government. Mnangagwa intends to give Dabengwa a very senior role," the sources said.
It was further revealed Dabengwa had told the commander that he was unwilling to rejoin Zanu PF, but was only willing to serve government under Zapu, in respect of the 1987 Unity Accord signed between PF Zapu and Zanu.
The accord, Zapu insists, has remained largely a ceasefire agreement as the Zanu component has benefitted in a disproportionate manner from government posts allocation, as well as in development terms.
"Dabengwa indicated he had parted ways with Zanu PF some years back and his conscience was against joining the party again. He indicated he would only serve on condition that Mnangagwa accepted him as a Zapu representative," the source added.
The commander, another source said, promised to take Dabengwa's message to Mnangagwa, with the two parties agreeing to have further consultations.
In an interview with the Independent, Dabengwa was non-committal about the latest meeting. He said he had met a number of "Mnangagwa's people".
"I have met many people who have come from Mnangagwa to discuss a number of things. They know what I have said to them. My story has not changed. The demands that I made remain the same," Dabengwa said.
Pressed further, Dabengwa said he had demanded, among other things, that government returns Zapu properties that it had seized, and be prepared to implement the devolution of power as enshrined in the constitution. "I have insisted that if I am to go back there, I will not join Zanu PF and all these other things. These conditions have to be respected," Dabengwa said.
On his meeting with the commander, Dabengwa said: "Why do you want me to confirm that? I have given you my word on this matter. Whether I met him (the commander) or not is neither here nor there."