From the Editor’s Keyboard

What about the security forces in Zim?

20 September 2008 at 01:19 | 403 views

By Scott A Morgan, Guest Writer, USA.

After years of wrangling, violence, electoral fraud and other factors a government of national unity is set to take power in Zimbabwe. Despite the optimism of having the accord signed, skepticism regarding the implementation remains high.

The document that will create a new government has far-reaching goals but the basic details are as follows:

- President Mugabe will have reduced powers as president.

- Morgan Tsvangiari(pictured) will assume the Office of Prime Minister and have direct control over the day to day operations of the Zimbabwe Government. Of the 31 Government Ministries 16 will be run by the MDC, the others by ZANU-PF.

The accord addresses one of the main problems that plagued Zimbabwe in recent years. The government of Zimbabwe had used legislation and intimidation to control the free flow of information. The efforts against the Daily News ,an independent newspaper with the largest circulation in the country drew massive international criticsm when it finally had to cease publication. Other journalists fled overseas in order to practise their profession safely. The agreement calls upon those in the diaspora to return home and practise their craft.

But what of the security forces? Section 13 of the document covers state organs and institutions. In the past, members of the police and the intelligence services had been used not only to silence critical voices in the media but the political opposition as well. Sub-section 1 states that " State organs and institutions do not belong to any political party and should be impartial in the discharge of their duties."

When Zimbabwe prepared for the runoff to the highly controversial March elections there were serious concerns about the climate that the runoff would be held under. After all it was the senior leaders of the military, police and intelligence services that planned and coordinated the second round of elections. The leader of the Zimbabwe army said that if Mr. Tsvangiari did win the election then he would not salute him.

When the Election was finally held and the negotiations for this GNU accord began, all concerns regarding the role of the security forces vanished. It could simply be that they felt the winds of change that were blowing in the country. They may have had other concerns as well. But there is one image that television cameras caught that may be a sign of things to come. Supporters of both ZANU-PF and the MDC were outside the signing ceremony. The police chased away the MDC supporters. Was anyone suprised?