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Mnangagwa likely to make sweeping changes that will shake Zimbabwe securocrats

by Staff reporter
28 Oct 2023 at 15:27hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is likely to make sweeping changes that will shake securocrats in an unprecedented way since he assumed office in 2017, amid reports several uniformed forces bosses had reached retirement age.

Key state security institutions include the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), which comprises the army and air force, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

In briefings this week, sources said several top bosses were reaching retirement age, hence the looming changes.

In 2020, Mnangagwa approved the harmonisation of the retirement age in the civil service to 65 years.

This then explains that the changes may affect those above 65 years of age.

When contacted for comment, ZDF spokesperson Colonel Alphios Makotore refused to comment and directed questions to Defence minister Oppah MuchinguriKashiri.

"I can't comment on that, this is way above me. Talk to the minister of Defence," he said.

Muchinguri-Kashiri told the Independent that this was a security issue which could not be discussed with the media.

She said any developments would be shared with the public.

"We don't discuss those issues with the media. If there are any new developments we will share them with the public," Muchinguri-Kashiri said.

"These are security matters that we don't discuss. At times, certain decisions can even affect the stock exchange because there are other sectors of the economy.

"After all, we are talking about peace and those responsible for creating a conducive environment for any business.

"So, I have no comment. When that time comes, whichever comes then the nation will know that. We don't subscribe to rumours. It's just gossip," MuchinguriKashiri said.

Mnangagwa has already made changes in the President and Cabinet (OPC), by appointing Martin Rushwaya, to replace Misheck Sibanda who went into retirement.

Last Friday, he appointed LieutenantGeneral Anselem Sanyatwe as Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), reassigning him from Tanzania where he was Zimbabwe's ambassador.

He replaced Lieutenant-General David Sigauke, who retired.

A raft of changes have since been made to permanent secretaries.

Further changes are expected in the military, with indications that most senior officers — who are war veterans — have reached retirement age.

"There is a shake-up looming at the army headquarters as some of the generals have reached retirement age. This may explain why a team of young commanders was sent abroad as part of grooming the next generation of leaders," a top government source said.

The sources further indicated that this created an opportunity for relatively younger commanders to assume influential positions.

According to the sources in the security sector, also earmarked for a possible promotion in the army is President Mnangagwa's son, Sean, who is currently a Major. The next rank is Lieutenant-Colonel.

"Sean was in China recently for an exchange military training and there have been efforts to put him in the limelight, with indications that he might be promoted," a military source said.

These developments come at a time when Mnangagwa is facing criticism for appointing his son David Kudakwashe as the Finance deputy minister and his nephew, Tongai as Tourism deputy minister, following his re-election in August.

The Independent is also informed that top officials in the CIO are earmarked for ambassadorial roles.

"There are going to be changes in the CIO with one Deputy Director General (DDG) (name supplied) set for an ambassadorial role in Equatorial Guinea," the source said.

Other major changes are also expected at the ZRP headquarters where some commissioners are said to be retiring.

"The majority of top security officials are war veterans and most of them have since reached their retirement ages. Therefore, the shake-up should not come as a surprise," another source said referring to the looming shake-up in the police and CIO.

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe said he was not aware of any proposed changes in the police.

"I am not aware of that development," he said.

Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, who had been said to be considering early retirement, told Zimbabwe Independent that he had not yet considered doing so anytime soon.

"I have not yet considered retiring, who is saying that? No, I have not thought of retiring yet, " he said.

Source - the independent