The top brass in the security forces, who have exploited Zanu (PF)’s patronage to amass eye-watering riches for themselves, are unsettled by the likelihood of President Robert Mugabe and his party losing general elections likely to take place next year.
“It is now an open secret in the security services (comprising the army, air force, police and Central Intelligence Organisation) that there is no guarantee that Zanu (PF) will retain power come election time. As a result, senior officers are rushing to do whatever they can so that they are secure in the event that Morgan Tsvangirai and his party win,” said a well-informed source.
South Africa and SADC are making it increasingly clear that they will not brook another Zanu (PF) stolen election victory, and will insist that free and fair elections are held to ensure the results cannot be contested by the losing party. “Remember, the next elections will be held under a new constitution that could make things difficult for Zanu (PF).
SADC is unlikely to tolerate rigging and violence, and Zann (PF) has been severely crippled by factionalism,” said the source. “Already, there are signs that Mugabe is weakening, especially as he failed to force elections this year.” Senior officers are reportedly making attempts to endear themselves to the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The party’s national spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, confirmed this. “A lot of these security chiefs are coming to us to dissociate themselves from the awkward position taken by the likes of (Constantine) Chiwenga (Zimbabwe Defense Forces Commander), (Douglas) Nyikayaramba (a Major-General) and the like.
“They are saying they are fed up with the partisan attitude of a few securocrats and are willing to serve under any government, including an MDC government. We are happy that most of these service personnel are still professional and we will welcome them in the event that we win,” Mwonzora told The Zimbabwean.
Nyikayaramba is one of the generals who have publicly expressed their allegiance to Zanu (PF) and vowed not to recognise a government formed by any other political party. According to documents released by Wikileaks some generals have in the past clandestinely approached western diplomats to discredit Chiwenga.
The panicky officers are also seeking safety in education, rushing to get diplomas and degrees. Another source, a senior officer himself, revealed that his boss had tasked him to find out ‘any diploma’ he could study for in preparation for the future.
The source visited commercial colleges in Harare to research available diplomas available and has recommended that his boss study management.
This paper has established an unusually high number of security chiefs enrolling at local colleges and universities, taking management, business and political science courses. John Makumbe, a professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe, said army personnel from the rank of colonel upwards were ‘flooding’ his department.
“It’s all about panic regarding the political future of this country. There is a real flurry of senior army officers seeking to obtain educational and professional qualifications. They seem to have realized that there should be life after the bullet,” said Makumbe. He acknowledged that the military chiefs, whose tuition is paid for by the army, were performing well in their studies at UZ.
Chiwenga graduated last year with a master’s degree in International Relations and has a Master of Business Administration from the Zimbabwe Open University.
The senior officers are reportedly hoping to be seconded to line ministries and diplomatic missions ahead of the next elections, get employed in the private sector or take up positions at a military academy currently under construction and at the army Staff College.
A lecturer at one of the leading commercial colleges in the capital said since the beginning of this year there had been an increase in the number of senior army personnel taking evening classes. “Military students, clearly senior judging by their epaulettes, have grown in numbers, particularly this year. They prefer studying business administration, personnel management, law and project management,” said the lecturer. He added that a sizeable number of senior police officers were also studying with them, “but the CIO guys are difficult to detect, even though we suspect quite a number to be our students”.
While the security chiefs have obtained lucrative farms under the fast track land redistribution programme that started in 2000 and hope to use them as business ventures, there is lingering discomfort among them because they do not have solid title deeds.
The Zimbabwean was told that many had set up private ventures, particularly poultry and piggery projects, to guarantee themselves a steady income in the future.Post published in: News