The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is calling for the resignation of Army Commander Constantine Chiwenga and Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri over their alleged partisanship.
The MDC formation’s standing committee met in Harare on Wednesday to discuss issues relating to the political statements and activities of various security service chiefs and concluded that Chiwenga and Chihuri cannot be reformed and must be retired.
Party sources said the MDC will appeal to the Southern African Development Community and the African Union, guarantors of the power-sharing arrangement agreed in 2008 and launched in early 2009 with the inception of the current national unity government.
MDC sources said the party was spurred by what it called a threatening response from Chihuri after MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti complained about his partisan stance.
They said Chihuri responded by letter that the former opposition party was a Western puppet that would never rule the country and would be dealt with accordingly.
Chihuri and senior military officers have openly attacked the MDC leadership in recent weeks, escalating tensions in the chronically troubled unity government.
The MDC says it is under siege and fears a military coup even if it wins the next national elections. Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Republic Police, refused to comment on the situation.
Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that Police Commissioner Chihuri’s conduct has left the party shaken.
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo dismissed the notion that the national police are in league with the former ruling party led by President Robert Mugabe, to whom a number of senior security officials have publicly declared their unswerving loyalty.
Johannesburg-based political analyst Trevor Maisiri said the MDC risks finding it difficult to dislodge the officials given their close ties with ZANU-PF and Mr. Mugabe.