HARARE – The ruling Zanu PF will count on the army and traditional leaders for its campaigns in the 2018 harmonised elections.
“We are going to campaign for Zanu PF along with our army, which is the best in the world and also traditional leaders,” said war veterans’ chairperson, Chris Mutsvangwa, who is also a special advisor in the President’s Office.
In the 2002 and 2008 polls, the military was accused by the opposition of running a campaign of terror that led to loss of innocent lives.
When Zanu PF was facing possible electoral defeat in 2000, its leader at the time general Vitalis Zvinavashe (now late) said the position of the president in the country was a straitjacket which can only be occupied by a person with liberation war credentials.
Last month, the army played a leading role in stampeding former president Robert Mugabe into resigning after it stepped in to target “criminals” around him.
Chairperson of the Chiefs Council Fortune Charumbira also weighed in yesterday, saying traditional leaders will support Zanu PF.
“We would like to thank the commander of the (Zimbabwe) Defence Forces (Constantino Chiwenga) for standing up and restoring order. As chiefs, we are actually planning to visit you.
“We are going to campaign for Zanu PF in the next elections. There will be chiefs and the army and Zanu PF. That is the differences between us and other parties that might also have T-shirts but don’t have war veterans,” said Charumbira.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu reacted angrily to Mutsvangwa’s utterances yesterday, saying the army must stay out of national politics.
“The MDC has always argued that the army is a national security establishment that shouldn’t be involved in partisan politics. The Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly and unequivocally states that the security forces should be apolitical and that they shouldn’t dabble in partisan political activism.
“The same situation applies to traditional leaders; they are also supposed to be apolitical. It appears that the more things appear to change the more they actually remain the same,” said Gutu.
Gutu said while Mugabe might be gone, Zanu PF remains unreformed.
“It’s more like changing the bus driver but using the same bus with all its defects and faults…
“War veterans are also expected to uphold the values and ethos of the armed struggle against racist colonial exploitation and subjugation,” said Gutu.
“These values and ethos entail that Zimbabweans should be allowed to freely associate with a political party of their choice without being forced and commandeered to belong to a particular political party.”