Joint Operations Command (Zimbabwe)

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The Joint Operations Command (JOC) is the supreme organ for the coordination of state security in Zimbabwe. It was established by the Rhodesian Security Forces to supervise its counter-insurgency campaign in the Rhodesian Bush War[1][2] as well as external incursions into neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Mozambique.[3] The JOC retained its role in the post-independence Zimbabwe Defence Forces, and has since been accused of manipulating elections and orchestrating political violence.


The JOC was headed in 2008 by Minister of State Security Didymus Mutasa, but he was replaced soon after the Zimbabwean presidential election held on 29 March 2008, by the Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities Emmerson Mnangagwa.[4] The JOC has been accused of organising repression campaigns against both opposition partisans, civil society and the U.S. ambassador.[5]

It has been claimed that in the wake of the Zimbabwean presidential election, the JOC de facto took over control of the day-to-day decision-making of government, effectively operating as a military junta.[6] The JOC has also been implicated in the violent suppression of opposition supporters between the 29 March election and the runoff election in July 2008.[7]

It has come under scrutiny from members of the Politburo of the ZANU-PF.[citation needed]


Proposed restructuring[edit]

According to the deal arising out of political negotiations between the three largest political parties, the JOC was to be renamed the National Security Council. It was to be chaired by Robert Mugabe and the former prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, was to be a sitting member.


  1. ^ Martin, D. and Johnson, P. 1981. The struggle for Zimbabwe. Boston, Faber and Faber.
  2. ^ N. Bhebe and T. Ranger (eds), 1995. Soldiers in Zimbabwe's Liberation War. Volume One. James Currey, London.
  3. ^ Smith Takes a Dangerous New Gamble, Time, 13 June 1977.
  4. ^ IV. Background, "Bullets for Each of You": State-Sponsored Violence since Zimbabwe’s 29 March Elections. Human Rights Watch. June 2008. ISBN 1-56432-324-2
  5. ^ "Mugabe's hatchet men". Independent Online, 29 June 2008.
  6. ^ "'Military coup' in Zimbabwe as Mugabe is forced to cede power to generals". The Times, 9 June 2008.
  7. ^ "Zimbabwe: UN resolution targets Robert Mugabe's 'criminal cabal'". The Telegraph, 9 July 2008.

External links[edit]