Towards the end of December Mugabe unilaterally promoted Three Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, to Major-General. Nyikayaramba has in the past been implicated in rhino poaching, partisan food distribution, election rigging and even the murder of an army captain.
Not only did Mugabe snub Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in making the promotions, but in June last year Nyikayaramba had told the ZANU PF controlled Herald newspaper that Tsvangirai was a "national security threat rather than a political one", and suggested the military should step in to deal with him.
This month Mugabe cut short his leave in the Far East to rush back to Harare and meet the Equatorial Guinea President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema. Obiang was on his way back home when he stopped over in Harare from South Africa where he had attended the ruling ANC centenary celebrations.
Highlighting the dysfunctional coalition government again was the fact that the two MDC formations knew nothing about Nguema’s visit. A ‘raft’ of deals are said to have been signed between the two countries and only acting Foreign Affairs Minister Nicholas Goche, from ZANU PF, was at the signing ceremony.
According to a report in NewsDay the deals: “Included agreements to develop programmes in education and training, public administration, defence and security, support for Equatorial Guinea’s industrialisation programme, agriculture, agro-industry and livestock production. The two countries also agreed to set up specific projects in mining, infrastructure development, communication and commerce.”
Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said: “The PM did not know anything about the visit and is completely in the dark about the deals. He was not even invited to the State banquet for Nguema on Monday.”
Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube also professed ignorance on the deals signed: “I am not privy to the agreements as I was not involved. I am not able to comment on something I do not know as nobody from my ministry was involved and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be the best to say why they did not involve us.”
Similarly Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa told NewsDay: “That is news to me. I am not aware of anything that was signed about information and communication as I was not involved in the discussions and did not know about Nguema’s visit.”
The end of January is expected to throw up another opportunity for Mugabe to snub his partners. The terms of office for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga and police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri expire at the end of the month.
Expiring at the end of February will be the terms of office for the Prisons Services Commissioner, retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi; Air Force commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri and Zimbabwe National Army commander Lieutenant-General Philip Sibanda.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa on Friday, MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said they did not expect Mugabe to consult Prime Minister Tsvangirai, despite the coalition agreement saying the President had to do so. “Over the years Mugabe has been renewing their contracts from year to year,” without consultation he said.
The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper did quote the MDC saying: “MDC-T and the smaller formation headed by Welshman Ncube said they would fight Mugabe legally and politically if he renewed the service chiefs’ contracts or if he made new appointments without consulting other players in the inclusive government.”
There is however a feeling amongst many commentators that the two MDC formations have effectively given up fighting a losing battle and both are now just waiting for elections.
In an interview with SW Radio Africa in October, Prime Minister Tsvangirai admitted as much saying: “Everyone thinks that the only way to resolve these matters is to go to an election.”
But he did add: “We still want the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement before elections.” – SW Radio AfricaPost published in: News