Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday warned that Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba was committing treason through his continued threats to undermine democracy in the country.
The PM said Nyikayaramba was threatening to disrespect the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
“They are threatening once again to usurp and overthrow the people’s will,” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, told NewsDay.
“Nyikayaramba’s treasonous utterances are the very reason why we need a roadmap to a free and fair election. This is an overt threat of violence.”
Tsvangirai was responding to comments made by the army general, in which he described the PM as a “national security threat rather than a political one”.
Political analysts and observers agreed with the PM, saying Nyikayaramba was now a threat to democracy in Zimbabwe.
They pointed out that this was a clear declaration that there was “no vacancy at State House” even if elections were to be organised with the post of the President up for contest. Eldred Masunungure, a political analyst, said the issue could now be solved only by President Robert Mugabe or the regional bloc, Sadc.
“I do not think Tsvangirai can deal with this,” Masunungure said. “He appears clearly powerless to respond to the declaration by the military.
“They are declaring that there is no vacancy at State House. What is the point of having a roadmap leading to elections when the Presidency is not to be contested?”
Exiled journalist Lance Guma said: “At last we have a clear-as- glass statement from the military confirming that they are in charge.
“It confirms that Zimbabwe is now a quasi-military dictatorship that relies on a civilian figurehead and the pretence of elections every five years.
“Hats off to Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba for clarifying the Zimbabwean problem for us without beating about the bush. We have a ‘Zanufied’ military running the country with a civilian figurehead in (President) Mugabe,” he said.
Nyikayaramba told the State-controlled Herald newspaper on Tuesday Tsvangirai’s conduct was a danger to the security of the country and justified army generals’ participation in politics.
He declared that he would not serve under the leadership of anyone who did not have liberation war credentials and that security forces would do anything to make sure President Mugabe remained in power until they felt the “threat” was over.
But Tsvangirai said Nyikayaramba’s behaviour was one of the major reasons why there was urgent need for security sector reforms in Zimbabwe.
“What the generals are saying is the very reason why we need security sector re-alignment,” the PM’s spokesperson said.
“The place for soldiers is the barracks and this dabbling in politics is a threat to constitutional order. The PM’s position is clear that if these guys want to participate in politics they must remove their uniforms and come to Zimbabwe Grounds and White City (Stadium) for open political contests.” Nyikayaramba said no one without liberation war credentials would rule Zimbabwe.
He said: “Daydreamers who want to reverse the gains of our liberation struggle will continue daydreaming. They can go to hell . . . they will never rule this country.” Nyikayaramba was reacting to statements by Tsvangirai at a rally in Mkoba, Gweru, on Sunday where he urged ambitious security chiefs to resign and contest for political power.
But Nyikayaramba said the current situation required the military chiefs to deal with while they were in their uniform.
Masunungure said: “The implications are that the military is declaring that only one of the three principals should rule the country without being contested.
“When you declare that one of the current principals should be life President, such a statement is not consistent with the process leading to a free and fair election even when the Presidency is up for grabs.”