Former Defence minister and Zanu PF founding member Enos Nkala claims the country’s “securocrats” will continue to sing for their supper since they take orders from the former ruling party’s politburo.
This comes at a time concerns are mounting among Zimbabweans over Zanu PF’s alleged refusal to reform the security sector ahead of possible general elections next year.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa dismissed Nkala’s sentiments as uninformed, adding service chiefs had never been party of the party politburo.
“He (Nkala) is one of the leaders of the liberation struggle. He must be aware that even our President Robert Mugabe, who did not undergo any intensive firearms use training, is our leader who generals salute. It is not a party position that generals may not salute anyone. It is their individual opinion. We cannot put words into people’s mouths,” Mutasa said.
Nkala, who retired from active politics more than a decade ago, told NewsDay on Saturday the generals, who are freedom fighters, still owed their allegiance to the Zanu PF politburo.
“The security generals went through our hands to become generals,” he told NewsDay.
“What they are saying is what Zanu PF told them to say. It is a politburo decision. Zanu PF was born at my home. We created these generals. We trusted (Constantine) Chiwenga and chose him to lead our offensive section called ‘Gaza’. When our enemy was coming from South Africa into Zimbabwe, I knew it would meet Chiwenga. He must not take the trust and character we gave him and make it his alone.”
The veteran politician said the generals had deep-seated loyalty to Zanu PF, adding: “Do you think if Zanu PF told the generals to salute Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, they would not do so? Whatever they do or say comes from the party.”
Nkala said Zanu PF policy was clear on such issues. He said even though he was now retired, the generals still saluted him because he was previously a government minister and if not there would be something wrong.
Security sector reforms have remained an outstanding issue threatening the existence of the Global Political Agreement that gave birth to the inclusive government between Zanu PF and the two MDC parties.
MDC-T leader Prime Minister Tsvangirai has repeatedly urged President Robert Mugabe to reform the sector following service chiefs’ vow not to salute any presidential election winner without liberation war credentials.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Chiwenga, Zimbabwe Prison Service Commander Retired Major General Paradzai Zimondi and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, among others, have openly declared their allegiance to Zanu PF.
Just before the June 2008 harmonised elections, service chiefs declared they would not salute any Head of State without liberation war credentials.
This was in apparent reference to Tsvangirai who had defeated Zanu PF candidate President Mugabe in the first round of the presidential election, but failed to garner enough votes to be declared winner.
Early this year Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba ignited heated debate on security sector reform after bluntly stating the army would not allow Tsvangirai to rule Zimbabwe even if he won an election.