Public service militarisation continues

President Robert Mugabe is not letting up on the militarisation of government departments as seen through last week’s appointment of permanent secretaries and ministry principal directors.

Misheck Sibanda
Misheck Sibanda

Of the four permanent secretaries that were announced by Misheck Sibanda, the chief secretary to the president and cabinet, one is a former general.

Mugabe appointed Brigadier General Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi as permanent secretary in the ministry of war veterans that was established after the Zanu (PF) congress in December last year.

Critics rapped the creation of the ministry at a time government is struggling to raise revenue to finance key programmes and to pay civil servants. They described the war vets ministry as yet another of Mugabe’s ways of militarisation and entrenchment of his power, arguing that there was no need for the department more than three decades after the anti-colonial struggle ended.

Before being elevated to a permanent secretary, Tapfumaneyi was the principal director in Mugabe’s office.

All the seven new ministry directors have a military background.

These are Brigadier General Thando Madzamuse (economic planning), Air Commodore Ivan Gibson Dumba (higher and tertiary education) and Brigadier General Godfrey Chanakira (finance).

Mugabe made Brigadier Geeneral Evaristo Dzihwema the new youth ministry principal director while Major General Richard Ruwodo, Brigadier General James Muronzvi and Brigadier General were moved to the war vets ministry to help Tapfumaneyi.

Most parastatals are run by former army officers and war veterans while serving military figures have been seconded to almost all government units, the Attorney General’s office included.

Military and intelligence officers are also working in unlikely areas such state universities and public hospitals.

Senior army officers have over the years been seconded to the ruling Zanu (PF) where they have worked as strategists and organisers.

All the security generals are war veterans who have publicly acknowledged their allegiance to the party.

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