Mugabe ignores PM, reappoints Chihuri
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has reappointed police commissioner-general, Augustine Chihuri, ignoring the protests of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party who wanted the ZRP chief replaced.
Chihuri’s four-year term expired last Tuesday prompting spirited media exchanges between parties to the coalition government with the MDC formations insisting he should not be re-appointed.
However, a newspaper columnist believed to be Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba suggested Saturday that the Zanu PF leader had ignored them and unilaterally gave Chihuri another term in office.
The MDC formations had argued that under the GPA, Mugabe could not reappoint Chihuri without consulting his partners, claims dismissed as a nonsense by government and Zanu PF officials.
“As far as we are concerned this country does not have a police commissioner as from midnight (last Tuesday) because Chihuri’s term of office is expiring,” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said last week.
“As far as the prime minister is concerned, Chihuri is no longer the police commissioner because his term expires tonight. This simply means that we will wait for Mugabe to consult the PM for a replacement.”
MDC-T’s secretary for defence, Giles Mutsekwa added: “It is there in black and white in the GPA that Mugabe must consult his partners but unfortunately everyone knows the behaviour of this man.”
However, Zanu PF and government officials said security service appointments could not be the subject of inter-party negotiations.
“There is nowhere in the power sharing Global Political Agreement or any clause of the constitution where it says the re-appointment of security commanders is going to be the outcome of the inter-party negotiations. This is the prerogative of the commander-in-chief.”
Zanu PF politburo member, Professor Jonathan Moyo added: ‘‘this is really much ado about nothing. This hullabaloo is coming from people whose positions in Government are illegal, who want to complain about someone who is legal.
“So in fact you have an illegality attacking legality. All this is done for selfish reasons by people scared of the fact that elections are looming on the horizon. This should be dismissed by all right-thinking people.”
But writing in the state-run Herald’s Saturday edition, columnist Nathaniel Manheru who is widely believed to be Charamba, said Chihuri’s reappointment had since been confirmed.
Manheru wrote: “Surely the (MDC) formations should have known their customer; known what you can get out of the President and what you cannot.
“Much worse, they should have known whether their protests were ahead or behind reappointments. Why weep over spilt milk? Which Service Chief does not have a renewed contract? Which one?
“The President has no one to consult and proceeded precisely that way, namely alone, undeterred by who is inclined to flog a bolted horse.”
Manheru claimed that while the GPA made reference to consultations over “appointments”, the agreement did not make any mention of “re-appointments”.
“The MDC pushed a futile line which insisted that the Prime Minister would have a role in those reappointments which the formations self-delusively presented as “appointments”, hoping leaving out the prefixial “re-” would give the Prime Minister some claim, some stake in the steps leading to resolution of the matter.”
The development is likely to further divide the already badly fracture coalition government and possibly increase tensions ahead of key elections expected this year.
Chihuri is part of a security establishment Tsvangirai wants reformed, accusing service chiefs of brutalising his supporters and helping keep Mugabe and Zanu PF in power by subverting the popular will following violent 2008 elections.
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