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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles
  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Crisis Report Issue 185
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (SA Regional Office)
    May 23, 2013

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    The new Constitution of Zimbabwe prohibits the security forces from engaging in partisan conduct, a development that could rein in the very institutions whose leaders have, on numerous occasions, threatened to reject any electoral outcome in which President Robert Mugabe loses.

    President Mugabe signed the document – overwhelmingly endorsed at the March referendum – on Wednesday May 22.

    The historic event was held at the State House in Harare and was witnessed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara among other government officials.

    The document replaces the ceasefire constitution adopted at the sunset of colonial rule at Lancaster House, London in Britain in 1979.

    The Security Service bosses – Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Constantine Chiwenga, Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and Prisons Chief Paradzai Zimondi – have been insisting they will not tolerate an election victory which favours anyone who did not participate in the liberation struggle.

    However, the Sixth Schedule of the new supreme law which came into effect upon the signing says stipulations relating to the conduct of members of the security services in section 208 have become law.

    “Neither the security services nor any of their members may, in the exercise of their functions act in a partisan manner, further the interests of a political party or cause, prejudice the lawful interests of any political party or cause,” reads the new Zimbabwean law.

    Given that Chiwenga recently called Tsvangirai a “psychiatric patient” the new law speaks to such conduct stating:

    “Defense forces of Zimbabwe must be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional, and subordinate to civilian authority as established by this constitution,” the important document reads. Chihuri is on record for confessing that he is a member of Zanu-PF and all the service chiefs have been featuring at the party’s gatherings while Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka is already campaigning to be a member of Parliament while he is still an active serving member of the ZRP. Low ranking soldiers have allegedly been deployed to run Zanu-PF election campaigns in the past, but according to the new Constitution’s Sixth Schedule which came into effect on Wednesday:

    “Members of the security services must not be active members or office-bearers of any political party, or organisation.

    “Serving members of the security services must not be employed or engaged in civilian institutions except in periods of public emergency.”

    The greater part of the Constitution will come into effect after the elections.

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