Regional leaders were clear in their calls for a framework that would ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe at their meeting in Angola last Friday, but before the ink has dried on their communiqué, Zanu PF acolytes are at it again trashing the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)’s minimum conditions for free and fair elections.
Taking the lead are members of the security forces who are expected to remain non-partisan in electoral process. In the same vein, we were taken aback by comments attributed to Zimbabwe National Army Chief of Staff (Administration) Major-General Trust Mugoba in the State media yesterday where he claimed the military supports Zanu PF.
Speaking at the funeral of a fallen hero, Lieutenant-Colonel Thabani Khumalo, at Imbizo Barracks in Bulawayo, Mugoba on Monday unashamedly said they would not allow anyone other than Zanu PF to rule this country.
“As the military, we do not only believe, but act in defence of these values and we will not respect any leader who does not respect the revolution,” he said.
“We will not even allow them to go into office because they do not represent the ideology we fought for. As the military establishment, we have an ideology that is represented in the mission of Zanu PF.”
These statements were not being uttered for the first time and it is clear the beneficiaries of the Zanu PF kleptocracy would continue to make them because they fear democratic change.
Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa lent himself to their cause last week when he claimed generals had a right to interfere in politics. Other army leaders such as Major-General Martin Chedondo and Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba also went as far in singing for their supper.
However, they must all be reminded they speak for no one except themselves and their fellow enemies of democracy.
The men and women below them are all victims of Zanu PF misrule and nothing — even military coercion — will stop them from removing leaders that do not advance their interests through the ballot. It is clear Zanu PF hardliners believe they can ignore the advice of the regional leaders and force an election using the current constitution and the repressive Public Order and Security Act among other instruments. Only those who choose to ignore history would believe this is possible, especially after the 2008 debacle where President Robert Mugabe was forced into an embarrassing climbdown. After claiming to have won an election, Mugabe was in limbo for more than six months as he could not form a government with his legitimacy in tatters. The same characters were behind his campaign in the ill-fated run-off poll and allowing them to run the show again will lead Mugabe down another cul-de-sac.
It would be advisable for the likes of Mugoba and Chinamasa to take heed of the mood in Sadc and start playing ball. As it is, attempts to ignore the will of the people at the polls will further isolate the country and disgrace our security forces.
Is that what they want?