Barely a fortnight after a coup within the Sadc region, President Mugabe has extended the terms of the Generals of defence, police and prisons service. It is probably only in Zimbabwe where officers who are war veterans are permitted an extra 5 years of service. Rather than retiring at 60, the president’s strongmen will quit at 65, by which time another revision of the law will probably have been crafted to enable them to remain in office.

Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri

This special rule makes no sense. If one has been in combat since 1970s, surely one should be eager to take a deserved rest. Recently, police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri collapsed during a pass-out parade for cadets, raising questions about his fitness to remain in the position. He even admitted to stuffing extra clothes under his uniform – only he knows why.

The Defence Forces Service Commission can spin this in any way they please but this is obviously designed to ensure the President rests easily at night. Mugabe is running out of people to trust. Traditionally, the armed forces receive astronomic wage increases but with government struggling to pay salaries, there have been rumours of discontent among the ranks. His comrades in Zanu (PF) are overtly wrangling to succeed him, even before he has stepped down.

It is therefore more imperative now for Mugabe to stick with the ageing Generals who have always backed him. The security chiefs, in apparent reference to Morgan Tsvangirai, openly declared they would never salute a leader without liberation war credentials. Mugabe’s paranoia is the reason he refuses to allow reform of the security sector.

Post published in: Analysis
  1. Wilbert Mukori

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