- Southern Africa
Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai’s safety compromised as security agents show open contempt
In a major security shake-up Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has ordered the removal of 15 agents from his close security team after a serious misunderstanding among the guards that would have compromised his safety.
The row occured last week at a dinner hosted by President Robert Mugabe for visiting South African leader Jacob Zuma. It is reported that one of Tsvangirai’s senior state-provided guards ordered a vehicle that is used by some of the Premier’s security men removed from Mugabe’s presidential State House palace where the banquet was taking place.
“The man just confronted some of the guards and instructed them to remove one of the vehicles out of State House. But the car was used by Morgan’s security team. The PM’s security would have been compromised by such an act,” said a source, who is very close to Premier.
Tsvangirai, who has survived attempts on his life before, uses security agents provided him by the state when he became Premier as well as a team of agents provided by his MDC-T party.
It was not immediately clear whether the man’s intention was by ordering the removal the car from Mugabe residence. Although VIP protection unit falls under the police, the law enforcement agency’s spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena refused to comment.
Last week’s incident is the second in four months after Tsvangirai was in May forced to make a U-turn when state security agents denied one of the cars in his entourage entry into State House for a dinner hosted for a North Korean delegation.
In April state security agents manning Tsvangirai’s offices at Munhumutapa Building blocked civic activists who wanted to meet the PM from entering the building that also houses Mugabe’s offices. It only took the intervention of Tsvangirai’s deputy Thokozani Khupe for the activists to be allowed entry.
Observers say while the incidents clearly confirms the security establishment’s lack of respect and contempt for Tsvangirai, the incident at State House last Thursday will only help fuel speculation about the PM’s safety under the protection of the same state security agents who openly dislike him.