Furore over Mugabe promotions

The promotion of former 3 Infantry Brigade commander Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba to the rank of Major-General, is a clear indication President Robert Mugabe condones unprofessionalism in the country’s security forces, according to analysts.

Nyikayaramba was promoted to Major-General and posted to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Headquarters as Chief of Staff Quartermaster.

He was promoted alongside Air Commodore Michael Moyo, who assumed the rank of Air Vice-Marshal, and now appointed commandant of the National Defence College.

Nyikayaramba, who was in June booted out of Copac after the MDC parties complained he had been drafted as a Zanu PF resource person, caused a political storm early this year when he declared President Mugabe must be allowed to “rule forever”.

The MDC-T complained bitterly to the Southern African Development Community — the guarantors of the wobbly power-sharing agreement – over his political statements.

Nyikayaramba also described MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a “major national security threat rather than a political one”.

His comments sparked calls for urgent security sector reforms from Zanu PF’s coalition government partners and political nemesis — the MDC-T. But, President Mugabe rejected the calls claiming Zimbabwe had one of the most professional armies in the world.

Yesterday, analysts described as appalling and disappointing circumstances surrounding the promotions to senior security sector management positions.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer John Makumbe said Nyikayaramba’s promotion was not surprising given the general’s open support for President Mugabe and the former ruling Zanu PF.

“Nyikayaramba has done so much political work for Zanu PF and (President) Mugabe,” Makumbe said.

“A lot of us know he is not a professional soldier, he is only for Zanu PF and not for the people of Zimbabwe.”

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said President Mugabe had rewarded Nyikayaramba “for his lack of professionalism”.

“In this new post Nyikayaramba is supposed to direct violent and uncouth behavior in the armed forces. This is clearly an indecent promotion.”

Nyikayaramba once caused the arrest of seven MDC-T MPs on allegations they abused agricultural inputs distributed under Operation Maguta where he was in charge.

All the MPs were acquitted of the charges after the courts ruled there was no evidence to back Nyikayaramba’s claims.

MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube said his party hoped the general would now take his job seriously after being given heavy responsibilities.
“We expect him to take his promotion seriously,” Dube said.

“We hope that he will distance himself from politics and serve the country by protecting innocent people.”

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