Public statements by Zimbabwean Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri this weekend in which he described President Robert Mugabe as a God-given, visionary leader have reignited calls by the Movement for Democratic Change for his removal from office and the reform of the national security sector before the next elections.
Addressing police recruits at a pass-out parade in Harare on Sunday, Chihuri praised Mr. Mugabe saying he has steadfastly defended Zimbabwe's sovereignty and natural resources and therefore deserves to continue leading the country.
Chihuri and other security chiefs have more than once openly declared allegiance to Mr. Mugabe and his former ruling ZANU-PF party, going so far as to vow not to accept any election outcome that removed President Mugabe from office.
The two formations of the MDC, supported by the South African facilitators of ongoing talks among the power-sharing parties in Harare, have called for broader security sector reform. But Mr. Mugabe last week rejected this proposal, calling it "nonsense.”
Spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the MDC formation of Industry Minister Welshman Ncube told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that Chihuri’s statements show the need for reforms.
He said Chihuri's pro-Mugabe declarations mean that "he is not able to respect the call of duty that separates his role from that of politicians."
Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman of the MDC wing of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Chihuri’s praise of Mr. Mugabe clearly signals where the security chiefs stand.
Mwonzora told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that such statements are intended to further indoctrinate the police with ZANU-PF propaganda. "We are very ashamed as a party to have a commissioner of the mold of Chihuri," Mwonzora said. "It's basic indoctrination of the police," he added.
Commenting, political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube said Chihuri’s latest statement vindicates the recent call by the MDC for him to be replaced.