HomePoliticsMugabe yields to pressure over security council

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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe finally succumbed to pressure when he agreed that meetings of the National Security Council (NSC) would from now be held every month as stipulated in the global political agreement (GPA) and the law that set up the council.

It had been agreed in the GPA by the three principals — Mugabe and the two leaders of the MDC formations, Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara — that the meetings of the NSC would be held on the first Friday of each month.

However, the council had only met twice since the formation of the all-inclusive government in February last year. The first meeting, where national state security issues were discussed, was held last June and the second only two weeks ago.

Mutambara this week confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent that the principals had now committed themselves to having NSC meetings every month, as outlined in the GPA.

“We agreed as principals that we will now be meeting very frequently as per the stipulations of the GPA, actually we will be meeting every first Friday of the month,” Mutambara said before referring further questions to Mugabe who chairs the NSC.

The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Gorden Moyo, said legally the convening of the NSC meant that the Joint Operations Command no longer existed.

“The three leaders in the all-inclusive government met under the NSC and agreed that they have to meet in the first week of every month and legally that means JOC is no longer in existence,” Moyo said.

He however referred all questions to the Office of the President where the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, was not available for a comment.

The dismantling of JOC, a security think-tank that was reportedly behind the violent presidential run-off poll in 2008 that returned Mugabe to power, is still an outstanding issue in the negotiations between the three main political parties.

Zanu PF has refused to dismantle JOC arguing that it only dealt with operational issues while the NSC was for policy issues.

More than 200 MDC supporters died during the countdown to the run-off, the party says, while thousands of others were tortured and injured.

The NSC comprises Mugabe and his two Vice Presidents, Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo, Tsvangirai and his deputies Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Finance minister Tendai Biti, and Home Affairs co-ministers Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa.

It also includes ex-officio members who include the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet and service chiefs.

 

Loughty Dube

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