Securocrats and the future of Zimbabwe’s politics

The Zimbabwean security sector has projected itself under the banner of the infamous generals as a major political player in Zimbabwean politics.

The generals of the the army, police and prison services have privately and publicly sworn and declared undying allegiance to the Zanu PF regime and vowed never to salute someone without the liberation war credentials that they approve of.

The continued unlawful and arbitrary arrest of pro-democratic activists including Cabinet ministers like Welshman Ncube and Moses Mzila-Ndlovu is a clear indication of the politicisation of the security sector.

Not to be outdone is the military, as evidenced by statements from Brigadier General Nyikayaramba and Chief of the General Staff Major General Martin Chedondo declaring how they will serve Zanu PF until Jesus comes.

At this point, we are tempted to trace the history of the establishment of the Zimbabwe Armed Forces to ascertain why they are so much partisan and have high levels of political excitement.

Qhubani Moyo, a graduate of Policy Studies, states that “The Zimbabwean National Army was a result of integration of three fighting armies in the name of the Rhodesian Front, Zipra and Zanla and these armies — especially Zanla — was more of a commissariat than a military wing.

“Therefore, these armies carried over their party ideologies into the force and never transformed to a professional apolitical army.”

Thus even after independence, the army continued to be closer to the Zanu PF party

How can we deal with the securocrats? That is the question.

If our national strategy is to deal with the securocracy through threats, then we are missing the point by a wide margin because this will not bring any desired results.

In fact, it will harden their stance as they will think that the post-Robert Mugabe era will see them face the firing squad

The situation has been made worse by the way the security leadership has been treated in post-North African uprisings and also in Ivory Coast where those who perpetuated atrocities have been executedAmnesty

Maybe in Zimbabwe, painful as it is, we need to begin to have conversations around the issue of amnesty.

In the everyday Zimbabwean discourse and in a country where the military has committed unimaginable atrocities, the ordinary man and woman in the street wants instant justice for the perpetrators.

But the question is: Will the securocracy hand over power in the face of the gallows of The Hague?

I know that a provocation of the debate on this issue will be viewed by some as a betrayal of the struggle and those who perished in Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina and June 27, but also let’s be awake to the reality that the army is divided on class lines.

There is the very rich in the uniformed forces who eat with the chefs.

This is the group that will fight tooth and nail to protect the regime because they are part of the scheme.

It is also the group that will kill all of you under the guise of protecting the State when their key function is to provide you with security and protection.

But below them are hungry soldiers who are feeling the brunt of Zanu PF mismanagement of the economy.

And these are the people who want fairness in the distribution of national resources.

It is a group that wants to be respected as the protectors of the people of Zimbabwe.

So if you give an impression the poor soldier you drink opaque beer with will be lynched the day Mugabe goes, you give him fear and he would not co-operate with you in your struggle.

Yet in history and current revolution, it is known that the elites of the army are always left isolated as the ordinary soldier joins the struggle of the masses.

It happened in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and so on.

So it is imperative not to paint all security apparatus with one brush. Most of them might be on your side after all

At the end of it all, we have to be awake to the reality that in dealing with issues of security, we should be strategic in our approach.

We might benefit from what Robert Greene once said: “Amidst the turmoil of events, do not lose your presence of mind you must actively resist the emotional pull of the moment, stay decisive, confident and aggressive. No matter what hits you but don’t lose your mind and think that you can beat the generals.”

Khumbulani Malinga is the Youth Assembly (Bulawayo) spokesperson of the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube. He writes in his personal capacity

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