Tsvangirai shocked at Nyikayaramba’s promotion

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has revealed that the promotion of Brigadier-general Douglas Nyikayaramba to Major-General left him ‘shocked and saddened.’

Douglas Nyikayaramba
Douglas Nyikayaramba

In June last year, Nyikayaramba, then a 3 Brigade commander in Mutare before his latest promotion, made headline news when he described Tsvangirai as a national security threat.

He told the state controlled Herald that: “Tsvangirai doesn’t pose political threat in any way in Zimbabwe, but is a major security threat.”

The controversial comments by Nyikayaramba came after Tsvangirai had urged army generals to resign and run for political office instead of making intimidating statements.

Last week, the Prime Minister wrote a letter to Robert Mugabe, at which he sought to reflect on the state of the inclusive government, particularly in the last year.

The memorandum, dated 2 February 2012 and which has been leaked to the state media, raises a number of critical issues that Tsvangirai needs the principals to address. SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that the Prime Minister raised most of the issues contained in the letter with Mugabe during their first principals meeting of 2012 on Monday.

“The agenda of the meeting was basically to discuss issues raised in that letter, which was unfortunately leaked to the state media by Mugabe’s officials,” an aide to the Prime Minister said.

The MDC President, who is currently using crutches after he sprained one of his ankles during a recent round of golf, took Mugabe to task over security sector reforms.

This is evident in the letter to Mugabe last week regarding the appointment and promotion of service chiefs and other security personnel. Tsvangirai reminded Mugabe that the amended constitution requires that all appointments have to be done in consultation with the Prime Minister.

There was speculation over the weekend that Mugabe was to re-appoint Augustine Chihuri as Commissioner-General after his contract expired on 31st January. Despite media reports to the contrary, Chihuri has not yet been reappointed although this is expected soon.

Meanwhile, it is the promotion of Nyikayaramba following his verbal outburst against Tsvangirai that has appeared to irk the Premier most.

His letter to Mugabe reads in part: “It was with a sense of shock and profound sadness that I learnt through the press in December that you had promoted Brigadier-general Nyikayaramba to the rank of Major General, barely six months after he had committed what can be at very least described as a serious act of misconduct.”

He added: “The impression that his promotion creates in the minds of the public is that not only do you condone the statements that he made in June 2011, but that you have also rewarded him for making them. This inevitably undermines the inclusive government.”

South African based political analyst Mutsa Murenje told SW Radio Africa that the Prime Minister is justified to seek answers from Mugabe’s unilateral actions though he remains powerless to stop him.

“Constitutionally, the Prime Minister’s work in the unity government is greatly impeded by a system that gives Mugabe too many powers even in a transitional government,” Murenje said. – SW Radio Africa News

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