'Security sector reforms done'

MUTARE - The redeployment of senior army generals into the government and Zanu PF constitutes the reformation of the security sector.

This is the conclusion that has been reached by the MDC’s secretary for security, Giles Mutsekwa.

Mutsekwa, a former Home Affairs minister and a retired senior soldier, opines that security sector reforms occur either by retraining the military or “plucking out” generals perceived to be too political.

He was referring to the retirement and redeployment of several senior chefs into President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration, and the ruling Zanu PF party.

The most topical has been the retirement of army general Constantino Chiwenga from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) and his redeployment as one of the two vice presidents of the Republic as well as Defence minister.

Following Chiwenga’s retirement from the ZDF, he was replaced by Phillip Valerio Sibanda.

Perrance Shiri was also retired from the Air Force of Zimbabwe to become the minister of Agriculture.

The ministry of Foreign Affairs is now headed by Sibusiso Moyo, who was also retired from the army.

In the Zimbabwe Republic Police, long-serving commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri was also retired.

“Transformation comes in different ways. Firstly, you can have it through retraining and re-orienting the security services. You can also have transformation by plucking out those that you can identify as more political than being military. Pluck them out of that field and put them where they want to belong. That also brings transformation,” Mutsekwa said.

“I see that as a reform of the security sector...As you are aware, since we have been in existence as opposition our call has always been that we must transform the security services in Zimbabwe.

“In this scenario, Zimbabwe is experiencing transformation which the former president (Robert Mugabe) has been resisting but now if we look at our scenario you will find that most generals and senior officers have been moved from the military to take up posts in governance,” he added.

In terms of his interpretation, Mnangagwa has already met a key demand by the country’s opposition parties that have been calling for security sector reforms.

Mutsekwa’s pronouncements could, however, place him on collision course with his colleagues in the MDC who are expressing disquiet over the army generals’ encroachment into politics.

Only recently, a delegation from the MDC Alliance, of which Mutsekwa’s party is part of, was in the United States calling for reforms in the sector.

Mutsekwa is, however, of the view that there was every reason for Zimbabweans to celebrate the movement of the generals from the barracks since they had been subject of complaints for always interfering in politics.

“I want to be positive with what is happening in Zimbabwe because those that have been asked to join politics have naturally been politicians anyway but in camouflage so if they are removed from the military and redeployed to areas where they have always liked more you have made a transformation in the military,” he said.

Mutsekwa also defended the generals’ involvement in politics saying it was their constitutional right to do so and that they could even be more gifted in governance than in uniform.

“Yes we must face it, the politics now has been infiltrated by military personnel but look let’s place citizens where they can play their role better and let’s wait and see,” he said.

He, however, said what is most important for Mnangagwa was to state clearly how he is going to ensure that the 2018 vote would be free and fair.

“The most important things is that the new administration has got to spell out how they are going to usher in a new political dispensation. The president has promised the nation a free and fair election but he has not told them how that is going to come about and this is our worry at the moment but let people be assigned to roles that they are most fit for and let these generals join us in politics and see how they play,” he said.