By Special Correspondent and Hans Pienaar
Police have discovered a second bomb that failed to detonate in the debris of an explosion on Saturday at Harare's central police station.
Destroying 13 offices and a kitchen on the first floor, the bomb blast came on the eve of the resumption of the dialogue between Zimbabwe's main political parties on Sunday.
Unusually, Zimbabwe police were cautious in apportioning blame. "We are not going to speculate or jump to conclusions until we have gathered all the evidence," national police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said. "We are leaving our investigations very open."
Another police source, who works in the criminal investigations department which was bombed, said: "Investigations into the blast are in full swing and at this stage you cannot rule out anything. There have been suggestions that this could be the act of criminals out to destroy vital information, but there is also a strong view that politics could be involved.
"Right now police are examining debris from the blast. A live bomb which was also supposed to explode was discovered. We are working on the origins of the bomb," said the police source.
Police believe that if the blast was politically motivated, there could be more bombs planted around the country. But staff at hotels in the city appeared to be unaware of the blast. They gave assurances that it was business as usual and that there were no extra security personnel on the streets.
There have been reports in Harare that hardliners within the ruling Zanu-PF party are planning to destabilise ongoing talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
The talks resumed in Pretoria on Sunday.
Militant war veterans have also voiced their concerns with the talks after information filtered through that the talks might end up giving executive powers to the MDC.
Last year, there was a series of bomb blasts targeted at police stations. Police implicated the MDC and arrested dozens of opposition supporters. The subsequent assaults on MDC leaders, including Morgan Tsvangirai, led to President Thabo Mbeki being appointed facilitator to the talks by the Southern African Development Community.
The Human Sciences Research Council has been warning that opposition supporters have begun to retaliate against violence blamed mainly on Zanu-PF.
Reports have quoted the Zimbabwe Peace Project, sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, as saying at least two government supporters have been killed in attacks by MDC supporters.
- This article was originally published on page 6 of The Star on August 04, 2008