Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is prepared to pardon security chiefs — most of whom are opposed to his ascendancy to the Presidency — if he wins in the forthcoming elections, a close security adviser to the Premier has revealed.
Report by Everson Mushava
Although Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka yesterday declined to comment on the matter, preferring only to say “he will cross the bridge when he gets there”, NewsDay is reliably informed the MDC-T leader is prepared to extend an olive branch to the generals.
Tsvangirai has on several occasions accused the army of siding with Zanu PF and allegedly spearheading the party’s violent election campaigns across the country. In the June 2008 presidential runoff election, Tsvangirai pulled out of the race citing State-sponsored violence against his supporters.
He claimed over 200 of his supporters were killed andthousands displaced as President Robert Mugabe battled to overturn his first round poll defeat in March to the former labour unionist.
Tsvangirai, however, says he is willing to pardon the generals to ensure a peaceful transition of power. Our sources said the Premier would retire them and give them protection to keep their wealth and immunity for past crimes.
“Most of them acquired farms during the land reform programme. They will retire to their farms and will be guaranteed protection of the wealth they accumulated while in office,” said the adviser.
“We have to manage the transition and say let sleeping dogs lie. He (Tsvangirai) is ready to pardon them although he doesn’t say that what they did was good.”
Tsvangirai also reportedly confided in his security advisers that he was not even worried about the possibility of a coup as he believed the threats were not institutional, but from individuals that did not necessarily have the support of the security forces at large.
“They may kill him, but that government will be shortlived. Even the diamond money they rely on will not take them far because diamonds are difficult to sell (in a coup situation). The Kimberley Process (an organisation which regulates the global trade of diamonds) will not allow them to sell the diamonds. People should understand that the problem in the army is not institutional, but individual,” said the adviser.
“Some of them (generals) escaped The Hague after driving the Gukurahundi massacres, Operation Murambatsvina and the 2008 election violence. Do you think they are prepared to repeat that? They are also worried about their future.”
Zimbabwe is not a member of the International Criminal Court, but its citizens can be dragged to The Hague through a United Nations resolution. Since the formation of the MDC-T, some vocal army generals have publicly declared their support for Mugabe and stated that they would not salute a person without liberation war credentials — in apparent reference to Tsvangirai.
Zanu PF has strongly rejected calls by Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube for State security reforms, saying the security sector was a no-go area.