Defence Force Chiefs Boycott Tsvangirai Inauguration

The latest Zimbabwe news about the GNU is rather disturbing.

A bruising confrontation between Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and the Defence Forces is brewing after the ALL the Service Chiefs boycotted Tsvangirai's swearing-in ceremony. The Service Chiefs, if you recall, were in attendance during Mugabe;s own swearing-in ceremony last year, after that June 27 hoax. THey attended in full dress to show their support and allegiance to the newly sworn-in President, as is traditional. They were expected to be present at State House for Tsvangirai's swearing-in.

They still insist to Mugabe that they will not be saluting the new Prime Minister, with two of them apparently so bitterly opposed to Mugabe's new marriage to Tsvangirai's MDC that they say they are prepared to resign.

The two, who I can not name without breaching official Secrecy Laws, apparently handed their resignation letters to Mugabe on Tuesday as Tsvangirai made his announcement of cabinet minister picks.

Mugabe refused to accept them.

The Service Chiefs were still on the State House grounds when Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara arrived on that same Tuesday for discussions around governorship appointments. They left after the Prime Minister and his deputy had gone into the building.

I understand that, although invitations were sent to the Chiefs for the Inauguration, they all communicated back to Mugabe their regrets. Mugabe is said to have lined up 

Some of the people Mugabe intended to appoint to cabinet have also refused appointment, apparently, with several requesting instead to be seconded back to the party to"help rebuild it." It is certain these want to be able to help their mentor get a strong grip on the party in preparation for the succession of Mugabe. This is given even stronger currency because the ones who refused are all aligned to Mugabe's now confirmed heir.

Meantime, there is increasingly talk, which is becoming difficult for me to ignore since several people are "confirming" it, that Robert Mugabe has told Morgan Tsvangirai he can not bring his party functionaries into government for civil service jobs. Mugabe says his government will supply all civil servants from the pool of available and qualified people.

Mugabe has apparently told the MDC that the government is staffed by professional civil servants and these would be assigned to do government jobs.

What made me sceptical in the beginning was the talk that Tsvangirai has apparently been told that, when it comes to security personnel, especially, he will have to let government supply "trained people". The justification, apparently, was given as: "If anything happens to you while you are being protected by non-trained personnel, then we would get the blame as government. To ensure your safety, we will have to supply professionally trained people who government can take responsibility for."

Put another way, Mugabe's government is saying to Tsvangirai they can not take responsibility for his safety if he chooses to go outside the government Close Protection Unit for his security needs.

Regarding the other ministerial staff, he has been informed that it is the norm for a ministers to be sent the CVs of people in the civil service who are qualified for a job opening and then he/she would vet them and choose the best candidate.

A former cabinet minister told me just a few minutes ago that this position is the correct one, legally, constitutionally and in terms of the rules governing civil service appointments.

But he also says that, if there is agreement within the new government and they are genuinely interested in working together, then they are ways around this.

He pointed to the fact in 1980, as Mugabe took over and inherited Smith's civil service, Mugabe had to resort to a "Special Presidential Directive on The Advancement of Black People In The Civil Service" to be able to hire those that had been in the bush with him.

Besides this, I also don't see how Tsvangirai would just roll over and accept such an dictation. If he agreed to it, then he can be sure (as he knows, obviously), that his office and the offices of his ministers will be staffed full of special undercover operatives who will report their every move to the Mugabe government.

Anyway, we will soon know the truth of this, but certainly this would be unacceptable fromn Tsvangirai's point of view.

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  1. Like I have mentioned before, the drama is now starting to unfold. The boycotting of the swearing in ceremony of the Prime Minister by the Security Chiefs signals some form of protest or contempt. Some declared during the election campaigns that they will never salute Tsvangirai, and now the political situation has changed, by virtue of his office,they have to salute him or face disciplinary action.The media will be out there to take the first photograph of Augustine Chihuri or Chiwenga saluting the Prime Minister.Chiwenga's wife threatened Tsvangirai with assault some time at Macro, calling him all sorts, that was the politics of that time, but now things have changed, the country needs healing, and that spirit of harmony should be exhibited first from the top, supporters and followers will follow suit.We know there is deep rooted genuine animosity between these new partners in a marriage of convenience.
    On the issue of Security, it is normal practice the world over that the government provides security personnel for their top government officials.Prime Minister Tsvangirai can not hire or employ his own private security, without undermining the security of a government in which he is Prime Minister. If he doubts their competency or loyalt or anything he has to work towards improving it than dumping it.You can not throw away your own child in preference of a neighbour's. You have to improve yours.But what makes it complicated is the fact that the security chiefs have demonstrated some form of contempt or bitterness or some negative attitude towards the Prime Minister, hence can they be relied on when they have to send security personnel to the same Prime Minister. What instructions will they give to their surbordinates who are supposed to meet the security needs of the Prime Minister?. National healing should start from the top, they should demonstrate that it is possible to have good working relations with members from the opposition. They should shake off the tag of MDC Minister, Zanu PF Minister, etc, they should be called Zim gvt ministers. They are in a gvt to serve all Zimbabweans not MDC supporters or Zanu PF supporters. Even if his security is staffed with undercover operatives, they are his operatives as Prime Minister, he should accept it so as to dismiss the suspicion that he might do some undercover dealings in the Prime Minister's office.

  2. Denford, have you seen this?

    What are your comments?

    "The list includes 2,000 bottles of champagne (Mo√ęt & Chandon or ’61 Bollinger preferred); 8,000 lobsters; 100kg of prawns; 4,000 portions of caviar; 8,000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates; 3,000 ducks; and much else besides. A postscript adds: No mealie meal”


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