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Zimbabwe Security Chiefs Delve Into Politics, Back Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have been urged to rein-in senior officers in the police, the army and the air force ahead of crucial elections that are expected to be called some time this year to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed that characterized the 2008 poll.

The call comes from the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) which has tarbulated instances in which senior officers have been making statements the ZDI say can inflame the political situation in the country.

This follows reports that Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri recently urged the wives of senior officers to "remain patriotic and vote Zanu-PF" in the coming polls.

Zanu-PF officials, led by administration secretary Didymus Mutasa, have supported the involvement of the security forces in politics saying they belong to the party since the majority of them are war veterans.

Multiple Zanu-PF sources told VOA that an unprecedented number of serving senior army and retired officers, police and air force and the central intelligence operatives, are seeking to run for parliamentary seats and will be going through the party’s primary elections scheduled for February.

It is not clear if the serving officers will resign from active service. But Assistant Police Commissioner Everisto Pfumvuti, commanding the Support Unit, has confirmed that he has intentions to participate in the Zanu-PF primary elections in Mutoko, Mashonaland East.

There are reports that he is also forcing police and ZNA officers in Mutoko South to register to vote.

Pfumvuti has, however, dismissed the allegations as the work of his enemies. Director Pedzisayi Ruhannya of the ZDI says partisan remarks by Chihuri are disturbing and show security sector reform has failed.
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