WE live in a surreal world where political gladiators deliberately misrepresent the truth in a grand plan to retain power by hook or by crook — in fact, at any cost.
Their strategy is anchored in social engineering in the vain hope that they will hoodwink the electorate into believing their political narrative.
Those who have been following the unfolding Zimbabwe political drama should have yesterday woken to shocking claims by Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri that security sector reforms were a “non-issue in terms of the current Constitutional Amendment No.19 that legalised the Global Political Agreement (GPA)”.
Chihuri was responding to claims by MDC-T secretary for defence Giles Mutsekwa who confirmed to our sister newspaper, the Zimbabwe Independent, last week that he had met service chiefs to guarantee their liberty if Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wins presidential elections this year.
The chief cop vowed that service chiefs will never meet Tsvangirai or his lieutenants to deliberate on security sector reforms and threatened to arrest those claiming such engagement took place.
Our gripe with Chihuri is not whether the meetings took place or not, but his dissembling and social engineering claim that security sector reforms were not envisaged in the GPA.
Contrary to the Commissioner-General’s averment, security sector reforms are essential to the country’s democratic agenda and should be embarked upon before this year’s elections if the polls are going to be free and fair and acceptable to the electorate, the region and the international community. Without a reformed security sector, the legitimacy of any electoral process, whether President Robert Mugabe or Tsvangirai wins, would be questionable.
Security sector reforms do not entail the fears Chihuri and his colleagues have — being fired. This, in a nutshell, refers to professionalism of the security sector.
The army, police and State spies should be apolitical in the discharge of their service. They should keep their political leanings close to their chests. We want a security sector that is subservient to the electorate, not political parties or individuals.
Chihuri must be reminded that the GPA is explicit on issues to do with the security sector. Article XIII of the GPA that deals with State organs and institutions states clearly that they don’t belong to “any political party and should be impartial in the discharge of their duties”.
The article is clear that for State organs and institutions to perform their duties ethically and professionally, “there must be inclusion in the training curriculum of members of the uniformed forces of the subjects of human rights, international humanitarian law and statute law so that there is greater understanding and full appreciation of their roles and duties in a multi-party democratic system”.
State organs are also mandated to “strictly observe the principle of the rule of law and remain non-partisan and impartial”, and that laws and regulations “are strictly adhered to and those violating them be penalised without fear or favour”. So Chihuri should learn to associate himself with the truth. It’s high time he honoured the GPA and stop playing to the partisan gallery!