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Tension Rises In Harare Over Appointment of Police Chief


Mr. Tsvangirai said on Wednesday following his second meeting with Mr. Mugabe this week that they had agreed Chihuri would work in an “acting” capacity despite his recent reappointment by Mr. Mugabe

Pointing to rising discord in the Zimbabwe unity government, the chief spokesman for President Robert Mugabe has contradicted a statement made by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai earlier this week saying that he and Mr. Mugabe had reached agreement on the status of Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri.

Mr. Tsvangirai said on Wednesday following his second meeting with Mr. Mugabe this week that they had agreed Chihuri, a Mugabe loyalist often criticized by the MDC, would work in an “acting” capacity despite his recent reappointment by Mr. Mugabe.

But Charamba told state radio Mr. Mugabe had extended Chihuri’s contract through 2014 and that contrary Mr. Tsvangirai's statement, Chihuri was substantive head of police.

Mr. Tsvangirai’s MDC formation has maintained that Chihuri’s appointment was legally flawed and therefore could not take effect. Charamba also told VOA that he stands by his position as enunciated on state radio.

Tsvangirai spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka told reporter Violet Gonda that Charamba is causing unnecessary confusion on a matter that has been settled by the principals.

ZANU-PF legislator for Mwenezi East Kudakwashe Bhasikiti said the appointment of service chiefs is the sole responsibility of the president.

National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said Mr. Mugabe should publish notice of Chihuri reappointment in the official gazette to formalize it if indeed he extended his contract on a full-scale basis.

This would be the 14th time Chihuri’s contract has been renewed since his first term expired in 1997. Chihuri took over as acting commissioner from Henry Mukurazhizha in 1991 before assuming the position on a full time basis in 1993.

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