Magwegwe MP Felix Magalela Sibanda has urged the country’s service chiefs to make good use of training opportunities at the $98 million National Defence College being built in Harare to help themselves refrain from making subversive and unconstitutional statements.
Sibanda said this in Parliament on Tuesday while contributing to a motion on alleged unconstitutional statements made by service chiefs effectively declaring they would not recognise a Head of State who did not have liberations war credentials.
The motion was introduced in the House of Assembly last week by Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya.
Sibanda said such statements by service chiefs gave an impression that Zimbabwe was a de facto military state in all but name.
“Do we have a silent coup in this country, or are we a de facto military state? Certainly, some people will applaud what army commanders and service chiefs have said of late,” said Sibanda.
“It is very hard to teach old dogs new tricks and in this same vein it is very hard for old liberation guerrillas to adapt to a new order of this inclusive government,” he said.
Sibanda said the image of the whole army should however not be soiled as there “were only a few rotten eggs” that needed retraining at the new army college.
“Last month we signed an agreement with the Chinese for the construction of a military academy and when that is completed all our soldiers should be retrained, but the old ones (that are) not amenable to training, must be cashiered, that is, dismissed forthwith or resign gracefully and then join us at the podium of politics,” Sibanda said.
“I urge that the military police be activated and arrest all those who breach the laws of this country so that they are brought before a martial court where the army discipline themselves,” he said.
Sibanda also attacked Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo for telling journalists last week that Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba was free to express his personal opinion.
“I was dismayed by Gumbo – that an honourable, learned and respected man like him – smuggled the motion that was before this House and called a Press conference to pre-empt how Zanu PF MPs should debate this motion.
“It is because he discovered that his men and women cannot stand up to defend this before us,” said Sibanda.