HomeLocal NewsMDC-T, Zanu PF clash over army

MDC-T, Zanu PF clash over army


Zanu PF and the MDC-T are headed for a huge row over the formers quest to introduce a new clause in the new constitution that will allow President Robert Mugabe to deploy troops anywhere without consulting Parliament.

The proposed clause in the draft constitution is among an array of fresh Zanu PF demands which have sent jitters among the veteran leaders political opponents.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the fresh standoff was deliberately crafted to give Mugabe a blank cheque to deploy troops anywhere raising fears he was likely to abuse those powers and clamp down on his political opponents.

The military has been accused of siding with Zanu PF in previous elections and unleashing a spate of violence on Mugabes rivals, particularly Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais MDC-T.

Since 2002, senior military officers have openly pledged their support for Zanu PF and vowed never to salute anyone without liberation war credentials, in apparent reference to Tsvangirai.

Mugabe, in 2008 in a bid to overturn a first round poll defeat to Tsvangirai in a presidential rerun, allegedly unleashed a violent crackdown against MDC-T supporters which, according to the Premier, left over 200 of his supporters dead and thousands displaced.

Mugabe will abuse those powers and deploy troops to villages to thwart any political dissent as what he did in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces during Gukurahundi. He will also deploy troops to fight personalised wars like theDemocratic Republic of Congo war towards the turn of the millennium, Mwonzora said.

According to Mwonzora, chapter 12 of the draft constitution requires the President to only deploy troops internally and externally after consulting Parliament, unless it is in a state of emergency to avoid abuse of power.

Zanu PFs demand, according to Mwonzora, which comes from an allegedly smuggled 29-page document with over 225 fresh demands, had been authored by Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo with the assistance of military officers.

We are reliably informed that Moyo drew up all these recommendations with the help of senior military personnel who have been meeting regularly at (Zimbabwe Minerals Marketing Corporation chairperson) Godwills Masimiremwas office, said Mwonzora.

But Zanu PF co-chairperson in Copac, the parliamentary body responsible for drafting the new constitution, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana dismissed Mwonzoras allegations as nonsense.

The 29-page document came from Zanu PF.
Professor Moyo is not Zanu PF. We will engage the MDCs over those issues, Mangwana said.
The Copac management committee is currently meeting in Nyanga to finalise on the draft constitution. However, Zanu PF has in the past defended the army saying they were free to meddle in politics, a position that has strained relations in the unity government.

Zanu PFs opponents are afraid of another State-sponsored bloody campaign.

Senior military men met in Nyanga two weeks ago and took a position to support Zanu PF in the forthcoming elections. The reason is that some of the senior military personnel have diamond mines in Chiadzwa which they got from Zanu PF and want to protect, Mwonzora added.

Mwonzora said Zanu PF intended to use the army in its campaign strategy, hence the need for security sector reforms. South Africa, the Sadc-appointed mediator to Zimbabwes political crisis, is on record saying all reforms should be implemented before any election can be held in the country.

But Moyo yesterday described the emphasis on reforms before elections by the MDC parties in the coalition government as scare-mongering caused either because they were disingenuous alarmists or electoral cowards.

In a long opinion article in State media yesterday, Moyo said it was being misguided to think that reforms would avoid a repeat of 2008 but rather, they could exactly guarantee a repeat of it.

University of Zimbabwe PhD student in Peace and Security Josphat Hungwe said getting deployment of troops done through Parliament was risky because it exposed the countrys security.

According to the peace and security concept, deployment of troops should be preserved to a few strategic individuals to avoid exposing the countrys security system, Hungwe said.

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