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20 Feb 2009 06:00
Morgan Tsvangirai is completing his first week as Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister tackling securocrats—said to be planning further arrests of more top officials as part of a ploy to undermine his fragile coalition with President Robert Mugabe.
Following the arrest last week of Roy Bennett on discredited arms and banditry charges, there were fears the next target could be Giles Mutsekwa.
Mutsekwa, who is Tsvangirai’s new home affairs minister, was previously charged with Bennett for possessing firearms with the intention of threatening Mugabe.
Bennett fled the country before he could be tried, while the charges against Mutsekwa were dropped. Mutsekwa has been outside the country since before the formation of the new government and is yet to be sworn in to Cabinet. A Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) colleague told the Mail & Guardian Mutsekwa was in the United States and would return to Zimbabwe very soon to take up his post.
A retired army major, Mutsekwa is one of the MDC’s most senior figures. He will co-head the home affairs ministry with Zanu-PF hardliner Kembo Mohadi. Mutsekwa has previously served as Tsvangirai’s defence, security and intelligence secretary.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to rein in what he has called ‘residual pockets of resistance within the security forces”, on Tuesday Tsvangirai held meetings with the ministers in charge of defence and security, Emmerson Mnangagwa and state security minister Sydney Sekeramayi, said spokesman James Maridadi. Mnangagwa and Sekeramayi are both close Mugabe allies who wield significant influence over Zimbabwe’s security branches.
According to one official close to Mugabe, Tsvangirai is also reportedly preparing to meet military top brass.
Tsvangirai is now looking to forge some unlikely alliances with some of Mugabe’s top officials to isolate the hard-liners.
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