Tsvangirai warns security chiefs

HARARE - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has taken a swipe at security service chiefs, warning they should stop posing a threat to the will of the people and respect the country’s constitutional process.

Speaking on the sidelines of the just-ended World Economic Forum in Cape Town, Tsvangirai told News24 that the behaviour of Zimbabwe’s security chiefs was disturbing in light of the upcoming harmonised elections.

“I believe all our soldiers, all our policemen are sworn in to uphold the constitutional provisions.... It’s unfortunate that they are sending a message that they will not respect the outcome of the elections and that they will subvert the will of the people,” said Tsvangirai.

His remarks come in the wake of tensions that are simmering over the issue of reforms, among them, security reforms which the country’s security institutions are opposed to.  

Tsvangirai accuses the security units of being biased towards President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

He recently asked his aides to open dialogue with the police and military to urge them to discharge their duties in an unbiased way and meet obligations in the constitution to be non-partisan.

But the generals and police commanders have remained adamant that they will not meet Tsvangirai and vowed that there will not be any security reforms.

“We are too busy to engage with confused malcontents who do not know their identity and have a propensity to destroy what others, dead and alive fought for.

“They must stop abusing the freedom and democracy that so many Zimbabweans died for,” police chief
Augustine Chihuri was quoted as saying in the State-owned media.

This was the strongest criticism by a service commander of Tsvangirai and his party’s leaders since several generals refused to salute the former opposition leader after he became prime minister in 2009 in a shaky coalition with Mugabe forged by regional mediators after the last violent and disputed elections the year before.

The Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Constantine Chiwenga also weighed in, saying the defence forces would never respect or entertain people who do not value the ideals of the liberation struggle.

He told the State media: “It’s just not possible for me to entertain the MDC leader, we are different.
 Just like oil and water, we cannot mix. As the defence forces, we will not respect or entertain people who do not value the ideals of the liberation struggle.

“Meeting such people will be a mockery to the thousands of people who sacrificed their lives fighting for the country’s independence.

“Who the hell does Tsvangirai think he is? No one can make us turn our back on the ideals of the liberation struggle.”

Tsvangirai, 60, a former labour leader, did not join guerrilla forces fighting to end white-ruled Rhodesia. — News24

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