HomeLocal NewsKnives out over Chihuri

Knives out over Chihuri

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The National Security Council (NSC) will convene an urgent meeting tomorrow where President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are set to cross swords over Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuris future.

MDC formations want Chihuri to step down following the expiry of his contract on January 31.

Tsvangirai this week said President Mugabe cannot renew Chihuris contract without his consent, setting the stage for another bruising confrontation in the shaky inclusive government.

Sources said the dispute had been taken to the NSC, which is holding its first meeting for 2012 soon after the veteran rulers return from a long holiday.

President Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Vice-Presidents John Nkomo and Joice Mujuru, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Home Affairs co-ministers Theresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa as well as service chiefs sit in the NSC.

As tension rises over Chihuris term and those of other service chiefs, which are about to expire, the government yesterday announced a workshop for ministers that was set to start in Nyanga today had been postponed to make way for the potentially explosive meeting.

Jameson Timba, the Minister of State in the Prime Ministers Office, confirmed the workshop to discuss the two-day Government Work Plan for 2012 had been moved to next week.

The workshop, which was scheduled for Thursday and Friday this week, has been moved to the same days next week to allow for an urgent National Security Council meeting on Friday, he said in a statement to ministers and other senior government officials last night.

Since the formation of the inclusive government three years ago, President Mugabe has been under immense pressure from the MDC-T over his unilateral appointments of service chiefs.

The former opposition party argues the appointments are a violation of the 2009 power-sharing agreement that obliges him to consult other principals in the coalition before appointing security chiefs and other senior government officials.

Tsvangirais spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said the Premier considered Chihuris continued stay in office illegal. According to the Constitution, all executive appointments must be done with the consent of the Premier, he said.

Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu yesterday refused to comment on Chihuris fate.

Ernest Mudzengi, a political analyst, was pessimistic that tomorrows meeting would provide any solution to the wrangle over security chiefs.

I think it will be difficult for that impasse to be resolved, Mudzengi said. What I think, judging on history, is that President Mugabe will have his way and further extend the terms of office of these security chiefs.

As a matter of fact, the MDC-T has literally not been allowed to have any form of control of the security sector in the country. President Mugabes coalition partners have been calling for security sector reforms, arguing that current army, intelligence and police commanders were partisan.

However, the long-time ruler, who turns 88 this month, has dismissed the calls, saying Zimbabwes security forces were among the most professional in the world.

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