Key army figures helping Mugabe: Part 1
By Lance Guma
Mugabe’s regime has over the years deployed serving and retired soldiers into non-military structures, to ensure Mugabe remains in power. Today SW Radio Africa looks at some of these individuals in both the army and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) who have helped keep Mugabe in power.
In November 2010 Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena from the Air Force of Zimbabwe was sent to the ZANU PF headquarters in Harare and assigned to lead a team of 300 army officers deployed around the country to help Mugabe’s party rebuild its collapsed structures. Assisting him was CIO Internal Director Sydney Nyanhongo.
Recently promoted Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba is the most vocal of the senior soldiers used by Mugabe’s regime. Not only has Nyikayaramba been implicated in rhino poaching and partisan food distribution, he has also helped rig elections for Mugabe, especially the 2002 presidential elections when he was the Chief Executive Officer of the then Electoral Supervisory Commission.
Lovemore Chipunza Sekeramayi, the current Chief Elections Officer in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is a former CIO. The two directors under him, Utoile Silaigwana (Operations) and Notayi Mutemasango (Administration and Finance), are former soldiers fiercely loyal to Mugabe. Silaingwana is responsible for polling, training, election logistics, voter education and public relations.
Retired Brigadier General George Chiweshe was in May 2011 unilaterally appointed by Mugabe as the new High Court Judge President. Chiweshe is the former chairperson of the discredited Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, that kept Mugabe in power in 2008 by withholding election results for a month while they massaged the figures to force a presidential run-off, which Tsvangirai was forced to boycott due to the violence.
Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, a former colonel in the army, was also at one time chairperson of the Electoral Supervisory Commission charged with the running the 2002 presidential election. Gula-Ndebele was later appointed Attorney-General, a position he held until 2008. Ndebele was fired after being accused of ‘corruptly assuring’ then fugitive banker James Mushore that he would not be prosecuted. Others blamed ZANU PF infighting for his demise. SW Radio Africa
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