Constitutional Clash: Mnangagwa makes dramatic u-turn on General Sibanda’s politburo appointment

His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces Cde ED Mnangagwa with Commander ZDF General Philip Valerio Sibanda

President Mnangagwa Postpones Appointment of General Sibanda to ZANU PF Politburo

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has decided to defer the appointment of Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander General Philip Valerio Sibanda to the ruling ZANU PF party’s Politburo.

The decision comes in response to concerns over potential conflicts with the country’s constitution. The President’s announcement was made through a statement issued by Mr. George Charamba, the Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications).

According to the statement, General Sibanda’s appointment as an ex-officio member of the ZANU PF Politburo will be reviewed once his term as the senior serving officer at the helm of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces concludes. This deferral aims to address any perceived conflicts with the constitutional regulations governing the conduct of serving members of the security services.

The initial announcement of General Sibanda’s appointment was made by President Mnangagwa during the 20th ZANU PF National People’s Conference held in Gweru last month. However, the decision has now been put on hold pending further review.

In addition to this development, President Mnangagwa also named Cde Rose Mpofu as the Secretary for People with Disabilities in the ZANU PF Politburo, replacing the late national hero Cde Joshua Teke Malinga, who passed away in September.

General Sibanda has been serving as the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces since December 2017, having previously held the position of Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army. His military career dates back to the days of the Second Chimurenga, during which he served as a ZIPRA combatant with the nom de guerre Cde Ananias Gwenzi. He underwent rigorous military training under the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in Lebanon after completing his initial training in Tanzania.

President Mnangagwa’s decision to defer General Sibanda’s appointment reflects a commitment to ensuring conformity with the country’s constitutional provisions. The review process will take place at the conclusion of General Sibanda’s tenure, as the government seeks to address any potential conflicts and maintain adherence to the legal framework governing the conduct of serving members of the security services.

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