ZIMBABWEANS across the political divide have called upon the country’s defence forces to desist from continuously reminding the electorate of the country’s bitter armed struggle and persistent threats of going back to war.
Instead, they should shift their focus towards infrastructural development.
MDC-99 leader Job Sikhala yesterday said as the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commemorated their day, they should look ahead and think of developmental projects to defend and develop communities.
“There was a dangerous precedent in the past when they made political pronouncements and took political positions which I think has eaten into their reputation, but we urge them to now desist from that culture and concentrate on infrastructure development, charity work, developmental projects and sprucing up communities as this country is not at war,” Sikhala said.
“They should desist from being so married to the past and start to see the country in the lenses of today or tomorrow as living in the past increases tension and hostilities.”
Gilbert Kagodora, leader of the March 11 Movement, said the ZDF should be able to subordinate themselves to civilian authority to retain their professionalism.
“As a country, we do not want security service men that are feared. It is not professional for the security forces to also start establishing private enterprises, for example, extracting mineral wealth in Marange because we wonder to who they are accountable to,” Kagodora said.
Director of Kwekwe-based Zimbabwe Organisation for the Youth in Politics Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo said the ZDF should not act as political commissars of certain political parties.
“Their utterances that they will not support anyone without liberation war credentials give rise to suspicion that their interest is not to protect our sovereignty as they claim, but to protect their wealth and personal interests,” Moyo said.
Political commentator Silver Bhebe applauded the ZDF for being among the most disciplined and professional on the African continent.
“This is evidenced by their outstanding and pivotal role in performing regional and international peacekeeping. Unfortunately, it seems a small number of high-ranking officials have decided to become political commissars and they are putting their reputation and professionalism to scrutiny. They must act according to the Constitution and law,” Bhebe said.