via Mugabe moves to dissolve JOC – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 17, 2015
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has set in motion the process to rebrand the Joint Operations Command (JOC) as National Security Council (NSC) through an Act of Parliament to enable the body to advise the government on national security policy and strategies.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
JOC, a military establishment accused of spearheading most State-sponsored atrocities since independence, is made up of Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief Constantine Chiwenga, Air Force boss Perrance Shiri, Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, prisons boss Paradzai Zimondi and intelligence chief Happyton Bonyongwe.
In his speech to mark the official opening of Third Session of the Eighth Parliament which was supposed to be presented on Tuesday, Mugabe said: “The National Security Council Amendment Bill, which provides for the establishment of the National Security Council to advise the government on national security policy and strategies will be brought before Parliament during this session.”
Mugabe briefly set up the NSC in 2009 following the consummation of the coalition government after the signing of the Global Political Agreement where the veteran leader was forced by regional leaders to share power with his nemesis, opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai, then Prime Minister, his two deputies, the security chiefs, defence and security ministers among a host of officials attended JOC meetings described at the time as tense when there seemed to be a thawing of relations between the antagonists.
But nothing came out of the meetings and they were soon aborted following demands by the opposition for security sector reforms that were vehemently resisted by the security forces.
The country’s successive military generals at least since the turn of the century have never hidden their disdain for the opposition and at one time declared they would not salute anyone without liberation war credentials.
JOC was reportedly behind the execution of the orgy of violence following the first round of voting in 2008 won by Tsvangirai albeit without enough votes to assume power.
The opposition claims at least 300 of its supporters were killed while thousands were displaced or were left injured.