Tsvangirai's close security infiltrated

HARARE – Zimbabwean Prime Minister (PM) Morgan Tsvangirai has ordered the removal of 15 agents from his close security team following a misunderstanding among the guards which sources said could have compromised the Premier security.

The sources said Tsvangirai — who in March survived a serious car accident that killed his wife and which was partly blamed on poor security arrangements for the Premier — acted after a disturbing incident involving some of some of his guards which happened at a dinner hosted by President Robert Mugabe for neighbouring South African leader Jacob Zuma last Thursday.

According to our sources, who spoke on condition they were not named, one of Tsvangirai’s senior state-provided guards they identified only as Mashundure inexplicably 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.

“Mashandure who has caused a lot of embarrassment for Tsvangirai ordered one of the Toyota Prado vehicles out of State House and yet it carries the PM’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 former opposition MDC-T party.

It was not immediately clear whether Mashandure’s intention was to remove Tsvangirai’s guards from the MDC or whether the effect of his instruction would simply have resulted in fewer agents – whether MDC or state-provided – left to watch over the PM.

According to our sources, it was the MDC security team that refused the order by Mashandure to remove the security vehicle and its occupants.

Secretary to the PM Ian Makone refused to take questions on the matter. He said: “I am not in a position to comment. I do not think it is an issue for discussion at the moment.”

Although VIP protection unity falls under the police, the law enforcement agency’s spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena refused to discuss the matter referring ZimOnline to President’s Department.

Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba was not immediately available for comment on the matter.

Last week’s incident is the second one inside 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.

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. — ZimOnline.