Retired Air-Marshal Henry Muchena says service chiefs are responsible for the preservation and protection of a countryâ€™s statehood, national sovereignty and territorial integrity and not a specific government.
In an interview with ZBC News in the capital, Retired Air-Marshal Muchena explained that the countryâ€™s constitution provides that service chiefs are appointed by and are answerable to their Commander-in-Chief, who is also the Head of State and Government.Retired Air-Marshal Muchena noted that those alleging that Commissioner-General Chihuri was re-appointed in an acting capacity are failing to understand the countryâ€™s laws which clearly stipulates that the Head of State has the prerogative to appoint service chiefs in consultation with relevant commissions in charge of the different security services arms.
“There’s no requirement whatsoever for cabinet ministers to talk about the appointment of service chiefs. Cabinet ministers must look at government issues and not state issues for which service chiefs are responsible. Even the GPA does not say the President will consult………the President can only consult if he is appointing senior civil servants,” Retired Air-Marshal Muchena said.
He further explained that service chiefs are not senior civil servants as they do not safeguard a government, but the stateâ€™s interests and sovereignty.
Presidential spokesperson, Cde George Charamba reaffirmed that the terms of office of Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Army Commander, Lieutenant-General Philip Valerio Sibanda, Airforce Commander, Air-Marshal Perence Shiri and Prisons Commissioner Major-General Paradzai Zimondi, had been extended by the Head of State.
He stressed that the appointments were done in accordance with Zimbabweâ€™s constitution and that they are irrevocable.
“The security sector is a sensitive one. It is structured around a command chain. It is not an area where you can work with decisions that are tentative, half-hearted or inconclusive, no. You make substantive decisions in respect of a person occupying a post so that they can issue out orders that are binding, and I can assure you, the President approaches it from that perspective,” Cde Charamba said.
There have been misconceptions, especially within the MDC formations, on the position and roles of service chiefs leading to other partners of the inclusive government claiming they also needed to be consulted when service chiefs are appointed or re-appointed.
The misconceptions appear to be a result of failure to distinguish between government and the state.