President Emmerson Mnangagwa is under increasing pressure from Western countries to implement security sector reforms, a report claims.
In recent months, Mnangagwa has retired several senior military figures who perpetuated “toxic politics”, some of whom will be deployed to diplomatic missions.
Some of the retired commanders are Major-General Anselem Sanyatwe, who was the commander of the Presidential Guard; former Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) chief-of-staff (administration) Douglas Nyikayaramba, chief-of-staff responsible for service personnel and logistics, Major-General Martin Chedondo, and Air Vice-Marshal Sheba Shumbayawonda.
In an article on April 28, Mnangagwa’s blue-eyed boy, Ndavaningi Nick Mangwana said that the changes were part of the security sector reforms.
Mangwana’s sentiments are considered to be those of Mnangagwa. Said Mangwana:
President Mnangagwa has redeployed those members of the security services who have served their country with distinction to other areas of the establishment to strengthen Zimbabwe’s democracy.
These include General Constantino Chiwenga (Rtd), who is now Vice President, Major-General Sibusiso Moyo (Rtd), who is now Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and a host of other eminent sons who have been redeployed to the party and diplomatic service.
He has also permanently retired those members who perpetuated toxic politics of yesteryear and appointed and elevated other patriotic cadres to replace them.
However, a retired army commander who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent said that it was not possible to drive out the military from politics completely as Mnangagwa lacks popular political support having initially risen at the behest of a military coup. The retired commander is quoted as saying:
It is an implausible scenario to say Mnangagwa is undertaking security sector reform as Mangwana claims.
What Mnangagwa is doing is changing faces within the command element to consolidate power and protect himself from possible removal by the same military.
In the first place, Mnangagwa and his military allies, before the new splits, thwarted security sector reform under Mugabe because of militarised politics and the succession battle.
So they won’t embrace it now because the military is the foundation of his administration; overhauling it means he will be left exposed and won’t survive politically.
Remember he has no popular electoral support and this was demonstrated during last year’s general elections.
He relied on the military to assume power, he depended on it to controversially win the election and still relies on it to remain in power.
What he has done and is still doing is merely replacing commanders he doesn’t want or those he doesn’t trust with those who are loyal to him.
The military infrastructure remains the same because he is aware that he can’t institute genuine security sector reforms without collapsing his rule.
More: The Independent
Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba is an army official in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. He is the current Chief of Staff, Administration at the Zimbabwe National Army. He is known, for openly pledging support to the Zanu-PF political party. Read More About Douglas Nyikayaramba
Constantino Guveya Dominic Nyikadzino Chiwenga is the current Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, the second secretary of Zanu-PF political party and the former Minister of Defence . He is also the former Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) and also the former... Read More About Constantino Chiwenga
Sibusiso Busi Moyo is a Zimbabwean politician and a retired three-star general in the Zimbabwe National Army. He is the current Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Moyo retired from the Zimbabwe National Army with the rank of Lieutenant-General to pursue a career in... Read More About Sibusiso Moyo