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EU sends clear message to the army

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The removal of sanctions against the majority of blacklisted Zanu PF officials by the European Union (EU) excluding army generals is a clear indication that the international community does not condone their interference in democratic processes in the country.

The EU on Monday lifted sanctions against 81 officials and companies after the electorate approved a new constitution in a referendum, whose adoption was part of a cocktail of conditions set by the bloc to lift the decade-long embargo.

For far too long, Zimbabweans have fallen victim to the security forces, among them members of the Central Intelligence Organisation , the army and the police whose bosses have vowed never to salute anyone without liberation war credentials.

The EU’s decision, which is worth saluting, reflects that the problem in Zimbabwe lies in the security sector.

Even the Global Political Agreement (GPA)-appointed facilitator South African President Jacob Zuma — has raised concern over the failure to reform the security sector.

In his own words to the Sadc troika recently, Zuma said: “Security sector realignment cannot be postponed any longer.”

According to EU acting head of delegation in Zimbabwe Carl Skau, the list was arrived at because the people involved were “key decision-makers” who should ensure a free and fair election in Zimbabwe and that the EU was ready to work with any government that wins a free and fair poll.

It is now imperative for the security men and women to demonstrate to the international community that they can deliver a free poll and to stop threatening coups against anyone who wins except Mugabe.

These men have demonstrated beyond doubt their love for Zanu PF and Mugabe, vowing never to recognise anyone else.

On the ground, the ZRP, the army and the CIO have become known for intimidating, harassing and arresting activists of opposition parties, including human rights defenders.

So, until such a time the army generals reform and demonstrate without doubt that they are willing to serve the people of Zimbabwe and not narrow political interests, there is no reason to loosen the grip on them.

It goes without saying that anyone who is elected president of the country is not able to discharge their duties without the backing of the security sector.

For that reason, there is need for re-alignment of the sector so that there are new people whose allegiance lies with Zimbabwe and not a particular leader.

The top security chiefs have indicated that they will not salute anyone without liberation war credentials.

But in a democratic system, which they claim to have fought for, the citizens of this country have a right to choose a leader of their own choice regardless of whether or not he/she fought in the liberation war.

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