Source: Army confirms aiding command agriculture – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 14, 2017
THE military, which has for long been linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s succession bid, has disclosed that it is heavily involved in government’s command agriculture programme, which the VP heads.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
In a statement, Zimbabwe National Army commander, Lieutenant-General Philip Valerio Sibanda, said his team had deployed over a thousand officers to run the project.
“We are playing our part in two clusters of ZimAsset, the one being food security and nutrition … in that regard the army is playing an important role in the command agriculture exercise. We have close to a thousand members, who are at various levels playing an important role there,” he said.
Zanu PF politburo member and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo has often accused Mnangagwa of using the government-funded command agriculture scheme to clandestinely push his bid to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
Moyo has also gone to the extent of labelling it “ugly culture”, accusing Mnangagwa of abusing State resources for his political expedience.
Sibanda also said the military was heavily involved in other sectors of the economy, which included transport, particularly with the National Railways of Zimbabwe.
“We continuously assist government and government ministries like the ministry of Transport. We have a number of officers, who are helping that ministry to try and get the NRZ going through technicians.
“We are also assisting the Agriculture ministry. We continue to engage in certain short-term support of various ministries like the Labour and Social Welfare ministry in grain distribution,” Sibanda said.
In a separate statement, Air Marshal Perrance Shiri, said the military has always worked well with the political leadership since 1980.
“One of the Air Force of Zimbabwe’s legacies is the military’s subservience to political leadership since 1980. We have co-existed with our politicians peacefully. We have complimented each other,” he said.
This comes at a time Mugabe has ordered the military to stop dabbling in party politics.