Source: Chiwenga a threat to democracy – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 22, 2016
ZIMBABWE Defence Forces Commander, General Constantine Chiwenga, has only himself to blame for dabbling in the treacherous Zanu PF politics.
Indeed, the country does not understand what has motivated Chiwenga to poke his nose into the divisive Zanu PF politics unless he has a huge interest into whoever will succeed the 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe. We only understand his statements in the context that Chiwenga, like many of his securocrat colleagues, are “lucky beneficiaries of Mugabe’s benevolence”.
What is curious with Chiwenga’s utterances is the fact that he chose to dabble in partisan politics while remaining in army regalia, something that could be viewed as meant to intimidate the majority into rallying behind a candidate endorsed by the military.
The question is: Was he speaking on behalf of the whole army or on his own behalf as a war veteran and Zanu PF supporter?
We believe if he wants to be partisan, he should simply resign and leave his position to professional soldiers keen to respect the Constitution and will of the people.
It, however, appears that Zimbabwe as always is unfortunate in that the army is a divided institution yet the nation looks up to them for protection.
Zimbabweans thought that since Chiwenga completed his doctoral studies with a South African university, he would be a changed person, far from his predecessors in particular the late General Vitalis Zvinavashe who threatened the whole country against voting for opposition leaders, in particular MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Chiwenga must not be a willing tool to subvert the will of the people come 2018.
Although deeply entrenched in Zanu PF factions, Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo is right that the only stockholders for Zimbabwe are its majority people — who have the right to vote for whoever they want.
The army should never subvert the will of the people in a democracy. So, Chiwenga’s utterances were, and are unfortunate in that here is a whole army commander planning to subvert the will of the people come the next elections. And we do not condone that. The army should be professional in its discharge of duties.
Indeed, Zimbabweans are the stockholders of the Constitution, hence the military should not be the willing tool through which the oppressors must undermine the people in their quest to remain in power even after defeat at the ballot box. We urge Chiwenga to explain himself further and assure the nation that he does not plan to undermine the will of the people and that his Independence Day statements were just a personal opinion.
In other countries, there is no doubt that Chiwenga’s utterances would have constituted treason.
Whether Chiwenga belongs to any faction in the governing Zanu PF, Zimbabweans do not care. What they care much about is the country’s prosperity and being freely allowed to choose their future leaders without undue influence from the likes of Chiwenga.
We have no doubt that his statements have also unsettled another faction in Zanu PF, hence Moyo’s response. Mugabe, as leader of both the governing party and government, must find it within himself to discipline Chiwenga and like-minded individuals because none of the political leadership is safe with such military personnel.
No one would have minded if these statements had been uttered by Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association boss Christopher Mutsvangwa because that is his calling, but certainly not from a uniformed officer claiming to be a public servant, no!
None, including Mugabe and his top Zanu PF leadership, can claim ownership of the country. They derive their power from the mandate given to them by the people, and how much so by an appointee?
Does it follow that the gun is now leading politics? What is Mugabe’s role in what is obtaining in the country, Zanu PF or government? Has he lost control of both to the military, his wife Grace or Zanu PF factions?
Soldiers must remain in the barracks to keep peace in the country and refrain from making inflammatory political statements.
Furthermore, the media will make sure that all areas, including the security services sector, will be covered without let as well.
There are no sacred cows.