Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why has Chiwenga decided to go it alone?

Fear that unless he was in control of his own destiny his own future security could never be guaranteed. Initially he thought his destiny could safely remain tied to Mugabe - at least as long as the latter conceded no ground to the MDC. From the outset, Chiwenga was prepared to do anything and everything to ensure that MDC was not allowed to govern.

He was particularly opposed to any MDC role within the security sector and went out of his way to ensure that the National Security Bill, drafted in March 2009, did not allow the National Security Council any powers over the JOC. Indeed, the National Security Bill was designed to be impossible to implement. It was planned as a concession to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai early on in the IG, giving him something to claim as a victory while keeping him away from the security forces.

But Chiwenga remained alarmed at the credit the MDC was getting for some of the reforms that came in in the first year of the IG. He was particularly concerned at the divisive effect that so-called MDC success was having on ZANU PF and increasing evidence of factionalism in the party.

This was all too evident at the ZANU PF Congress in December, when it was agreed behind closed doors that, in the event of 'chaos' in Zimbabwe, the army should take power. As a result, ever since the Congress, Chiwenga has been securing funding, training militia and consolidating the military's presence in government. Indeed, the army already has 'plain clothes' military personnel in every ministry, local government and in key positions controlling the rural areas.

Chiwenga and Mnangagwa had worked out a detailed gameplan against the possibility of Mugabe's early death. But Chiwenga had difficulty persuading his senior officers to side with Mnangagwa rather than Mujuru (to whom traditionally many of them felt much greater loyalty). Chiwenga therefore decided to stick with the gameplan but drop Mnangagwa from the starring role.

Chiwenga who had found it expedient to align himself with Mnangagwa rather than Mujuru, after Mugabe made the former defence Minister, the Party Congress convinced him that neither could be trusted to steer the country through without provoking violent confrontation between their factions. Only Chiwenga as CDF acting in concert with his closest allies in the security machinery, his former commander Paradzai Zimondi and Police Chief Chihuri, could secure continuity of power.

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