Accessibility links

Gov't Restores Tsvangirai's Security Privileges

Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his wife Elizabeth.

Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his wife Elizabeth.

Harare has restored police and state security privileges that were stripped off former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai following the disputed July 31 national elections the labour-backed party says were rigged in favour of President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.

The elections marked the end of the unity government formed by Mr. Mugabe and the MDC founding leader in 2009 following another disputed poll of 2008.

Spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora of the MDCT told VOA the initial withdrawal of the security privileges was wrong in the first place. He says as a former Prime Minister Mr. Tsvangirai is a statesman and should enjoy the privilege of state security until the end of his time.

State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi was not available to comment as his phone went unanswered. Also unavailable was Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri whose phone also was not answered.

Mr. Tsvangirai, who has been working with Mr. Mugabe, holding meetings at State House every week as one of the country’s executives for the past four years, uses a state convoy operated by security operatives, while his residence had round-the-clock armed police officers before their withdrawal after the elections.

It is not clear why the police and state security departments have had a sudden change of heart towards the former trade unionist.

What is also not clear is the exit package agreed on for Mr. Tsvangirai as he leaves office. Besides his official Mercedes Benz, Mr. Tsvangirai uses a Highlands state house.

Some in the MDC think the security reinstatement is a strategy by Mr. Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to persuade Mr. Tsvangirai to engage the veteran leader in talks to form another coalition government following the disputed polls.

But others dismiss that saying Mr. Mugabe’s government is doing the right thing by restoring the security privileges, adding the decision to strip the former Prime Minister of the service could been taken hastily by overzealous officers following the disputed elections.