President Emmerson Mnangagwa is reported to have reversed the decision that was made without his full knowledge to fire almost the entire top hierarchy of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) when more than 30 senior police officers from the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner onwards were put on retirement. The commissioners were given less than 48 days to leave the force. The decision was allegedly made by Vice President, General Constantino Chiwenga when the president was outside the country in Zambia. When Mnangagwa returned, he reversed the purge and reduced the number of senior officers to be fired to 11. The number has now been further reduced to 9 after the names of two officers were removed from the list.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba has confirmed the reversals to the weekly publication, The Standard, although he denied that there was any conflict between the president and his deputy. Said Charamba:
We are dealing with security here. We don’t treat it like we are treating civilian structures.
Yes, it was done when the president was away and when he came back, he discovered we had thrown away the bath water with the child and corrective measures had to be taken.
As I speak, I am sitting with two more names which have been removed from the list — Erasmus Makodza and Douglas Nyakutsikwa. We are now down to nine. It was a well-meant move by the Police Service Commission but spoiled by overreaction and the president, with his two deputies, reversed the decision.
They [Mnangagwa and Chiwenga] are all at one. The decision to reverse the dismissals was done by the president and his two deputies [Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi]. We are actually out to evolve into a harmonious administration. Such allegations [of rift and conflict] are made by people who wish for us to go back to conflict.
According to sources who spoke to The Standard, another major overhaul is also expected at the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). The ZRP and the CIO did not take part in Operation Restore Legacy which ultimately resulted in the fall of President Robert Mugabe. In contrast, many senior members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have been promoted since President Mnangagwa came into power.