The Commander of the combined Zimbabwe armed forces, General Constantine Chiwengwa (seen above with Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri) has already indicated to President Mugabe that he wants to retire.

I told you about his demand for Elliot Manyika's party position in my article, Zimbabwe Army Commander Demands Top Government Job.

The car that ferried Roy Bennett to Mutare is owned by General Chiwengwa, as the MDC knows and has even made public.

Still, the line that Morgan Tsvangirai is being fed by Mugabe, that the army are hardliners who want to wreck the power-sharing deal is nothing more than that - a line. You can remove the "n" from that last word and it will ring truer still.

The truth of the matter is that Mugabe wants Morgan Tsvangirai nowhere near the military men. He is extremely wary that Tsvangirai may try to wiggle his way into the Generals' pockets and supplant their loyalties.

The president knows that it is the military that has saved his job. If even just their favour is withdrawn, then Mugabe will not have a leg to stand on.

It may well also have been Tsvangirai's strategy to go in and soften up the very backbone of the Mugabe regime, for it is they, we all know, who ensured time and again that Mugabe triumphed at the polls even when he was beaten at the ballot box.

Should they, at some point, decide to let the voice of the people carry the day, then Mugabe will quickly retreat to sun himself by his sprawling rural villa in Zvimba. Mugabe needs these generals on side and the best way to ensure this in a unity government is to keep the Prime Minister at arm's length.

It will soon pass, Mugabe tells his ZANU PF fellow-leaders. We will be back in the driving seat by ourselves, he has been assuring them. 

The MDC, he still insists, are in this only to reverse the damage caused by "their sanctions". 

The fight between Mugabe and General Chiwengwa, therefore, is imaginary. There is no strife there. If there was, believe me, the General could very easily have taken advantage of the disgruntlement in the lower ranks to press home his position.

What happened to Roy Bennett today shows clearer still that true power lies not with the Generals.

The High Court today ruled that Bennett should be freed on bail immediately. But "immediate" has never been part of the Justice Department's lexicon when it comes to opposition figures.

So the Attorney General announced that he would keep Bennett in jail anyway. He says he will need the next seven days to make up his mind whether to challenge the decision or not.

The judge said, "Ok".

The Attorney General does not work for the Generals. He does not even report to them. In fact he rarely meets them. He does, however, report to Robert Mugabe directly. It is Mugabe only who can fire him. The AG also happens to be an ex-officio member of the cabinet.

Given this, knowing this, who do you think is giving the Attorney General the guts and the instructions on this matter? Who is more likely to wield so much influence on the courts? Mugabe or Chiwengwa?

If you really look at it, you begin to ask yourself just what is the motivation behind Tsvangirai's blind acceptance of this "hardliners" theory, to the extent that he now feels Mugabe is his ally, to be sided with on as many issues as possible in an effort to strengthen his hand against these "hardline" elements.

Surely he knows better.

And if he does, there must be some other motive behind this behaviour and gullibility. If he does not, then God help us.

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  1. Commander of the Defence Forces General Constantine Chiwenga has indicated that he wants to retire and get the late Elliot Manyika's job, we are told. We are told again he told his chargees at a meeting that he will find it difficult to salute Tsvangirai, even though he is now Prime Minister. He boycotted the swearing in ceremony of the Prime minister. That shows how much contempt there is upon the person of the Prime Minister. As for the boycotting of the swearing in ceremony, I do not think Tsvangirai should have hard feelings, these are the same people he has said he will fire once he gets to the top, he promised them the Hague, he has ridiculed and boycotted events that recognise and honour their contribution towards independence, that is Defence Forces Day, Heroes day and other national events. These are the same War Veterans who are at the helm of all the Security Apparatus, which Tsvangirai knows he can not do without. Will he be able to build bridges. Will they believe him (Tsvangirai) whatever assurances he might give them.I strongly believe they genuinely do not what Tsvangirai in government.For General Chiwenga to offer himself for the late Manyika's job, I think he believes he can revive the party to thrash MDC in the next election.
    Regarding the guts and instructions on Roy Bennet's matter, i would like to believe the Attorney General is working independently.Given the circumstances around Bennet's case, the Prosecution seem to have a strong case against the granting of bail, unless there are some factors influencing, which are not in the public domain. Here somebody who had skipped bail and sought sanctuary in a neighbouring country, where he is a refugee, unless that status was annuled by his visits back to country he had claimed was persecuting him.He is facing a very serious crime, and can easily abscond, influence supporters to disrupt or interfer with the case,or witnesses.
    The interference of the Prime Minister's Office is another blow to his case for bail, since it indicates the level at which interference in the case can come from. I have got nothing personal against him, but I am for Fair trial.

  2. I'm so glad I don't live in Africa.


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