Chihuri saga snuffs power-sharing illusion
The re-appointment of Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to a new
term of office ending 2014 has exposed what had been feared most: that
Morgan Tsvangirai has become a lame duck Prime Minister.
Chihuri’s term of office expired on January 31 and on Wednesday Tsvangirai
announced to the nation that he and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
had agreed with President Robert Mugabe that Chihuri would perform in an
But just a day later, Presidential Spokesperson George Charamba announced
that Chihuri’s term had actually been extended to 2014. His revelation
raises a number of questions: Did Mugabe lie to Tsvangirai during their
meeting that Chihuri would be acting police chief or is Tsvangirai
uninformed about goings-on in government?
While it is not possible to get answers to these two questions, what may be
undisputed is that Mugabe unilaterally re-appointed Chihuri to a new term of
office without consulting Tsvangirai.
While on paper Mugabe is supposed to be sharing power with Tsvangirai, he is
in the habit of acting unilaterally on matters that should be jointly
decided by the principals to the Global Political Agreement.
Mugabe has perfected the art of disregarding Tsvangirai on all key
appointments. He kept in office Attorney General Johannes Tomana and Reserve
Bank Governor Gideon Gono against the MDC formations’ demands and is now
again extending the term of office of Chihuri and other service chiefs. In
light of these unilateral appointments, Tsvangirai should be under no
illusion that he is sharing power with Mugabe.
At best the MDC-T leader is a junior partner and at worst merely a
“passenger” in the inclusive government. The sooner Tsvangirai accepts this
reality, the better.
Appealing to Sadc for intervention may be the easier route for Tsvangirai,
but clearly that won’t stop Mugabe from flagrantly violating provisions of
So the only viable option for Tsvangirai is to push for the conclusion of
the constitution-making process and the subsequent holding of free and fair
elections that will give Zimbabweans a chance to choose their leaders. Only
that way can Mugabe be stopped.
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