Troubled times ahead for service chiefs
By Tichaona Sibanda
12 September 2008
A senior advisor to Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday said that they expect the country’s service chiefs to follow the laws of the country and support the government of the day and the new political dispensation, or resign.
The heads of the country’s army, police, air force, CIO and prison services have often repeated statements that they will not salute the MDC leader. Tsvangirai is expected to be confirmed next week as the new Prime Minister of the country. Meanwhile, Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga was opposed to making Tsvangirai sit on the Joint Operations Command, which according to the deal agreed on Thursday will be renamed the National Security Council. Chiwenga remains fiercely opposed to any elevation of Tsvangirai.
But the MDC MP for Lobengula-Magwegwe in Bulawayo, Sam Sipepa Nkomo said there was a very reasonable answer to that problem.
“As a party, we strongly believe that those that really do not want to salute anybody who is properly placed to a position democratically to be Prime Minister, President or Minister should simply resign,” he said.
Speaking to Newsreel a day after ZANU PF and the MDC agreed to a deal that would see the country’s political parties share power, Nkomo, who is also the party secretary for Home Affairs, said they cannot claim they got everything they wanted from the talks.
“In any negotiation, you win some and lose some. I believe we could have got 65% of what we wanted, so the mood in the party is that our negotiators did a sterling job because they constantly consulted us,” Nkomo said.
Turning to Matebeleland, a region marginalised by the regime over the last 20 years for voting for the opposition, the MDC legislator said they hope the new government would be fair in its distribution of wealth and job creation.
“The region needs urgent support from the government. In the short term, we need seeds and fertiliser to prepare for the planting season but in the long term, we will look at reviving the city’s industry,” he said.
Nkomo explained that Bulawayo used to be the industrial hub of the country but ‘bit by bit’ companies started relocating to Harare because of political reasons.