Zimbabwe - report

Zimbabwe army backs Mugabe election call

Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

A top Zimbabwean army commander has backed President Robert Mugabe’s call for elections this year – and that former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is not the right candidate to win.


Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba says Mugabe could only be replaced when he dies.

These comments show how Zimbabwe ’s security forces remain loyal to President Robert Mugabe two years into the coalition.

Mugabe’s partner in government and political rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has been pressing for security sector reforms.

His Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the army, the police and secret service have been involved in abuses in past elections.

But Nyikayaramba says reforms aren't necessary.

He's told a local newspaper that the army believes elections must be held this year and he openly opposed Tsvangirai becoming president.

Statements like this have been made by top security officials ahead of previous elections in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai immediately criticised the comments by Nyikayaramba.

He says service chiefs and supporters of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF are using warlike language to undermine civilian authority.

Mugabe and his allies appear to be forging ahead with plans to hold polls this year, despite resistance from the MDC and regional negotiators.

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