THE Joint Operations Command (Joc), which brings together the army, police and intelligence chiefs, has proposed to government the setting up of a task force to spearhead the removal of sanctions, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
Sources close to Joc said the security chiefs met last week to discuss lobbying strategies for the removal of sanctions by the European Union, the United States, Australia and Canada, who rejected the July 31 election results in which President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF won emphatically amid allegations of vote rigging.
Joc played a key role in ensuring a Zanu PF victory as it sourced funding for the party’s campaign material, deployed top army officers countrywide and influenced the selection of candidates in some areas.
However, focus is now being directed towards the removal of sanctions, which Mugabe has blamed for the country’s economic meltdown, while the West insists his misrule is responsible.
“They (Joc) agreed that there is need for a paradigm shift with regards to the handling of sanctions,” a source said. “The plan is to come up with a taskforce headed by new Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa aimed at re-engaging the West.”
Efforts to contact Chinamasa proved fruitless this week. The source said the securocrats were now taking a leading role in pushing for the removal of sanctions.
The taskforce will take over from the re-engagement team constituted during the inclusive government, which comprised Chinamasa (Zanu PF), Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi (Zanu PF), former Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and former Regional Integration and International Co-operation minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC).
“Joc wants to make sure the sanctions are removed completely and unlike during the inclusive government’s tenure, the securocrats want to play a crucial role,” another source said.
The source said the taskforce will include musicians and local and foreign sports personalities such as swimming sensation Kirsty Coventry.
Zimbabwe National Army public relations director Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore refused to comment on the taskforce, referring all questions to Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) public relations director Overson Mugwisi whose phone went unanswered.
Questions sent to the army headquarters on Tuesday had not been responded to at the time of going to press.