Chihuri snubs minister’s orders

augustine_chihuri3HARARE More problems are threatening Zimbabwes shaky coalition government amid revelations that the countrys partisan police chief is refusing to take orders from his immediate bosses and only responds to instructions from President Robert Mugabe and Attorney General Johannes Tomana.

Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri is said to be openly refusing instructions from co-Home Affairs Ministers Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi, a development likely to heighten tensions within Harares coalition regime already troubled by bickering over key appointments and implementation of political reforms.

Mutsekwa told The Zimbabwean On Sunday that Chihuri was ignoring orders from the two ministers, even after demanding written instructions.

The President and Attorney General give verbal instructions, while the ministers are asked to give written instructions to the police commissioner-general,” said Mutsekwa.

The minister, from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais MDC-T party, the situation was further complicated by the fact that the police chief insists that any instructions from the MDC-T legislator should be countersigned by Mohadi.

The same requirement has not been imposed on Mohadi who can send instructions without the consent of his colleague. The move is believed to be part of a ploy by Mugabes Zanu (PF) party to ensure that all decisions by Mutsekwa are vetted or approved by Mohadi.

It was not clear at the time of going to print whether Mugabe himself had instructed Chihuri to only take orders from the veteran leader and


Under Zimbabwean law, Mugabe and the AG have direct access to the police chief but the latter directly reports to the home affairs minister.

It is unfortunate that we have many people who are running the police force in the country, that is, the President, Attorney General and the Home Affairs Ministers. What makes it difficult in our situation is that if I want to give instructions it should be signed by both of us,” Mutsekwa said.

He called for changes to the relevant Act of Parliament to give greater powers to the minister of home affairs.

I have raised this issue with the GPA (Global Political Agreement) principals and they are now aware that we are having a difficult situation, especially when I am required to instruct Chihuri through a written note, he said.

During negotiations for Zimbabwes power-sharing government in 2008, the MDC-T insisted to jointly control the home affairs department with

Zanu (PF) in order to ensure people did not abuse their powers.

But reining in Chihuri a top Zanu (PF) loyalist has proved an easier-said-than-done task for Mutsekwa. Zanu (PF) has continued to commit human rights abuses with impunity despite the presence of an MDC-T minister in home affairs.

Chihuri has allowed known violence perpetrators from Zanu (PF) roam

the streets freely while ordering the arrest of MDC-T supporters at the slightest opportunity. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the countrys biggest labour union, has called for the immediate resignation of Mohadi and Mutsekwa for failing to ensure that police uphold the rule of the law.

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