FORMER President Robert Mugabe ’s ally Simba Makoni says the 89-year-old Zanu PF leader should fire security chiefs dabbling in partisan politics as a precondition for free and fair elections.
REPORT BY DUMISANI SIBANDA
Makoni, who is Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader, on Wednesday joined calls by the two MDC parties for security sector re-alignment as espoused in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the inclusive government in February 2009.
The calls also came hardly a few days after the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) resolution pressuring Mugabe to fully implement all provisions of the GPA before the next elections.
The regional bloc, at its recent meeting on the sidelines of the African Union golden jubilee celebrations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, tasked South African President Jacob Zuma to press for reforms to ensure Zimbabwe has a violence-free election.
In a communiqué the regional bloc said: “Summit also commended the parties to the GPA for completing the constitution-making process and assenting of the draft constitution into the supreme law of the country on 22 May 2013. Summit urged the parties to the GPA to finalise preparations for the holding of the harmonised elections.”
In an exclusive interview with NewsDay, Makoni said security sector and media reforms, which were necessary for the holding of credible polls, could easily be implemented within a short space of time if there was “political will”.
“These things are not difficult to do. They haven’t been done in five years not because they are difficult, it’s because people haven’t had the will to do them. People don’t want to do them,” Makoni said.
“But these things can be done in three weeks, in six weeks. What do you have to do? The commander –in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (Mugabe), if he was obeying the Constitution of Zimbabwe he would have told the Commander of the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe( Constantine Chiwenga), the commissioner of police ( Augustine Chihuri), that ‘you don’t make a political statement while you are wearing my uniform’.
“That is what a law-abiding citizen number one would have done. If the Chief-of-Staff of the United States army had made such a statement (US president) Barak Obama would have fired him instantly.”
Security sector reforms have been the subject of a fierce war between Zanu PF and the two MDCs. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and the MDC led by Welshman Ncube have been pressuring for security sector and media reforms among other GPA outstanding issues to level the playing field ahead of polls, a move fiercely resisted by Mugabe’s Zanu PF party which has benefited immensely from military support.
Chiwenga recently described Tsvangirai as a “sell-out” and a person who needed psychiatric treatment while Chihuri described the MDC T as a “party of malcontents” for demanding security sector reforms.
The two “securocrats” were among several commanders who have publicly declared their loyalty to Mugabe and Zanu PF against the letter and spirit of the GPA.
Makoni said people should be allowed to elect leaders of their choice even if it meant “voting against freedom fighters”.
He said Zimbabweans should use the next elections to liberate themselves from “fear and political oppression”.
“We will resolve this issue. What I want to say to the people of Zimbabwe as happened in 2008, as happened in 2005, as happened in 2002 when you walk into that polling booth, know that you are on your own, you are secure, your vote is secret, vote for candidates who will liberate you from fear and from political oppression,” Makoni said.
“That is how we will do it. Inspite of all the mileage newspapers may give, airtime, broadcasters may devote, to castigating other citizens, on the day no one will hold a gun against your forehead to force you to vote for a candidate you don’t want.”
He said politicians should embrace democracy and stop threatening people for their political views.
“Only three weeks ago Webster Shamu (Zanu PF national commissar and Information Minister) was announcing on a public platform that they will not allow a country which was liberated by the gun to be taken away by the pen,” Makoni said.
“The essence of democracy is someone entering a polling station with a pen in their hands and putting a mark against the candidate of their choice that is what Webster Shamu said they won’t allow.”