Zimbabwe’s partisan securocrats, the real power behind President Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF, have allegedly taken steps to have a greater say in the floundering Global Political Agreement (GPA) negotiations.

This information came to light yesterday as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC was said to be meeting to discuss the involvement of the security structures in the GPA negotiations and how to handle the situation.

Sources in the military claimed that securocrats were so bewildered by both the pace of change in the country since the formation of the inclusive government and the positions being agreed to by ZANU PF GPA negotiators that the top brass of the military were now reserving the right to veto all decisions that they did not like, even if these decisions had been agreed to by all GPA negotiators.

“The chefs (top brass of the police and military) are frightened by the pace of change in the country and how easily ZANU PF negotiators are being pushed into positions that disadvantage ZANU PF.

“They are now demanding that they have the final say on what is adopted by the GPA principals, and they are getting their way with President Mugabe.  They no longer have any confidence in (justice minister Patrick) Chinamasa because he is agreeing to the powers of the military being usurped.

“This uneasiness is also the reason why (defence minister Emmerson) Mnangagwa is currently acting as if he is foreign minister ahead of the crucial Sadc extraordinary summit planned for this weekend in Windhoek (Namibia),” the source said.

Mnangagwa, by far Mugabe’s most trusted lieutenant despite being linked to the Tsholotsho Declaration which was allegedly organised by serial political flip-flopper Jonathan Moyo and others to oust the octogenarian leader from power six years ago, spent most of last week on a regional diplomatic charm offensive ahead of the Sadc meeting.

Among others, Mnangagwa met Angolan Vice President Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos in Luanda to deliver a special message from Mugabe and ZANU PF.

Speaking after the meeting, Mnangagwa was quoted saying Zimbabwe was peaceful – claiming further that Mugabe had “very good” working relations with Tsvangirai.

But contacted for comment yesterday, Mnangagwa dismissed the allegations that the securocrats were giving orders to ZANU PF negotiators.

“It is nonsense. The security chiefs are not involved in any talks. The GPA is a civil issue which the security forces cannot get involved in. People in the press create issues which they want to become real,” Mnangagwa said.

Negotiator for the smaller faction of the MDC Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga said although the securocrats did not sit on the negotiating table, they were an important stakeholder in the process.

“We should look at what the role of security forces should be in peace building. Determining how engagement is going to take place in the process is the million dollar question. What could be dangerous is if all of us begin to speak about them in a fearful language,” she said.

ZANU PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo to comment on the issue, saying: “Go and ask them (securocrats and negotiators”.

Meanwhile, there is confusion around whether the Namibia Sadc meeting will go ahead this weekend as planned, even though Foreign Affairs officials said last night that the meeting was still on.

If the extraordinary summit on the Zimbabwe crisis goes ahead, it will look to consolidate the positions taken by its troika team on politics and defence – in a desperate quest to end the anarchy in Harare.

Specifically, South Africa is expected to push for the implementation of all outstanding issues specified in the GPA, ahead of a much-anticipated national election to be held either next year or in 2013.

However, analysts expect Mugabe and ZANU PF to fight to win back their favoured position in the region as indicated by Mnangagwa’s visit to Angola – a duty that would ordinarily fall on the foreign ministry.

“It is not a coincidence that Mnangagwa is shuttling from one country to the next in the region.  It is because he wants to warn all ZANU PF’s friends that they are under siege from the South Africans in particular.

“Crucially too, he wants to send the powerful message that the military won’t accept regime change (ZANU PF euphemism for the removal of Mugabe and the party from power) in Zimbabwe,” our source in the military said.

Although GPA negotiators have agreed that credible elections could only be held as from next year only, Mugabe and ZANU PF – backed by the military – have insisted that the ballot will be held later this year.