ZIMBABWE – PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday faced army generals in a National Security Council (NSC) meeting as parties in the inclusive government review the country’s security situation amid heightened calls for elections next year.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson William Bango confirmed yesterday’s meeting, but could not disclose issues discussed, saying he was yet to be briefed by his boss.
“I can confirm the Prime Minister attended the meeting,” said Bango. “But the PM is at the Avenues Clinic now in an emergency following the sudden death of Agriculture deputy minister Seiso Moyo. I am yet to be briefed of what transpired.”
President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba could not be reached for details of the meeting as his mobile number was not reachable and neither was Finance minister Tendai Biti, who also reportedly attended the meeting. The meeting, according to Bango, was initially scheduled for Thursday, but was postponed over yet unknown reasons.
However, Bango had earlier indicated the meeting could possibly focus on the security situation in Zimbabwe ahead of elections. Mugabe has said the elections would be held next March although indications show the polls could be held in June or later. Service chiefs have in the past displayed contempt for the MDC-T leader, threatening not to salute him even if he wins elections. Tsvangirai accuses the generals of siding with Mugabe in past elections and unleashing violence on his supporters.
Tsvangirai claims over 200 MDC-T activists were killed by security forces-backed Zanu PF militia in the 2008 polls, while thousands were displaced.
Bango had earlier said: “I am sure the internal security situation as the country edges towards elections will be under review. I further understand the meeting will also look at the security situation in Manicaland after Renamo leader Alfonso Dhlakama threatened war in neighbouring Mozambique.”
Renamo is an opposition party in the mineral-rich country and has threatened war if government fails to make electoral reforms.
The NSC, the security think-tank established to lead security sector reforms at the consummation of the inclusive government, is supposed to meet every month, but has not been meeting for the past six months, triggering speculation that Mugabe, who enjoys the backing of the generals, could be meeting them in private.
According to the Global Political Agreement, the meeting has to be attended by Mugabe, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Tsvangirai, service chiefs, Deputy Prime Ministers Arthur Mutambara and Thokozane Khupe, Home Affairs ministers, Finance minister and the ministers responsible for security.
Tsvangirai has repeatedly called for security sector reforms with Zanu PF resisting.
Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said yesterday’s meeting was simply a political ritual to fool Zimbabweans as the potential to change anything was close to nothing.
“It is Mugabe only who can change things if he becomes sincere,” Ruhanya said.
“Mugabe is the one in charge of the military. Things should first change on the ground, but as things stand, generals are still making threatening statements and campaigning for Zanu PF.” – Newsday.