Army generals face probe

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Army generals are facing an investigation following “unconstitutional and treasonous” utterances to the effect that they would not allow an elected leader without liberation war credentials to rule the country.

The envisaged probe follows the adoption of a motion in the House of Assembly on Wednesday condemning “unconstitutional statements” uttered by the country’s service chiefs, among them Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Prison Service Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi.

The pronouncements by the service chiefs before and after the inception of the inclusive government in February 2009 were largely perceived as targeted at Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who wants to unseat President Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai did not participate in the liberation struggle.

The service chiefs fully backed the 88-year-old Mugabe and allegedly masterminded his re-election in a bloody June 2008 presidential election run-off.

MDC-T Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya, who moved the motion in the House of Assembly last year, told NewsDay on Wednesday that it had been adopted, paving the way for a thorough probe of the generals.

“The motion has been adopted, and I have called upon the Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, who was present when it was approved, to present the issue to Cabinet,” said Chikwinya.

“The adoption of this motion comes at a time when we are supposed to deal with elections, and I expect Cabinet to deal with the responsible people and institutions who have been uttering unconstitutional statements since Parliament has resolved unanimously for the adoption of this
motion.”

Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, according to Parliamentary rules, should institute the investigations into the “unconstitutional utterances” by the service chiefs and report back to the House of Assembly.

Mnangagwa is yet to respond to the adopted motion.

However, Mnangagwa is on record saying the generals were not under any obligation to salute any person outside the chain of military command like Tsvangirai.

The motion,when it was introduced in the House last year, attracted heated debate from MPs across the political divide.

The motion was meant to condemn the “unconstitutional and treasonous utterances” that reportedly brought the professional institutions of the army and the police into disrepute. Chikwinya also wanted the generals to reaffirm their loyalty to the Constitution.

Debating the motion, MDC-T Zaka Central MP Harrison Mudzuri said Nyikayaramba’s assertions triggered fears that securocrats were bent on eliminating Tsvangirai and members of the MDC formations.

Nyikayaramba last year described the MDC-T leader as “a security threat” and reiterated he would never salute any President other than Mugabe.

“Tsvangirai is a security threat because he takes instructions from foreigners who seek to effect illegal regime change in Zimbabwe, and this has invited the security forces to be involved because we want to protect our national security interests,” Nyikayaramba was quoted as saying.

Winding up the motion, Chikwinya said it was imperative for the Executive to take Parliament business seriously as previously all motions adopted were not acted on.

“PM Tsvangirai last year said all motions and resolutions of Parliament were going to be taken for consideration in Cabinet in this first quarter of the year. The motion was adopted by a full sitting of the House and I think Zanu PF MPs are now reluctant to defend their ministers because they do not implement what Parliament has resolved,” said Chikwinya.