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Tsvangirai: Military Should Stay Out of Zimbabwe Politics

As Zimbabwe prepares for elections next year, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pleaded with the military top brass Friday not to interfere in national politics.

Mr. Tsvangirai was speaking at a National Security Meeting attended by President Robert Mugabe, Vice President Joyce Mujuru, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangangwa, Security Minister Sydney Sekeramai, Finance Minister Tendai Biti, and Energy Minister Elton Mangoma.

The securocrats were represented by Army General Constantine Chiwenga, Airforce commander Perence Shiri, and Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri, among others.

Many senior members of the army have threatened a constitutional coup if Mr. Tsvangirai were to win next year’s presidential election.

The Southern African Development Community has also called for security sector reform, but the army has resisted, saying Zimbabwe is a sovereign state.

Zanu PF and MDC sources said Mr. Tsvangirai also demanded that troops deployed to rural areas be ordered back to their barracks.

Mr. Tsvangirai also questioned the deployment of troops in Manicaland as an alleged defense of the country against a potential RENAMO rebellion in Mozambique.

But Mnangagwa said the army was deployed for strategic purposes.

Lawyer Jeremiah Bamu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said reform of the security sector is long overdue.
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