Army ruckuses a threat to democracy

Members of the National Army go through a drill during celebrations.

ZIMBABWE’s fragile democracy is under threat once again and we would like to call on the country’s civilian authorities to put our soldiers on a tight leash lest Zimbabwe is turned into a banana republic overnight.

NewsDay Comment

The continuing belligerent talk by senior members of the military establishment should be a great cause for concern to all peace-loving Zimbabweans. The military chiefs’ loud-mouthed discourse has thus far frightened the populace more than their supposed enemies.

It must be noted that in 2002, then Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, the late General Vitalis Zvinavashe, flanked by then ZNA commander Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga, Air Force of Zimbabwe Air Marshall Perrance Shiri and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri held a press conference on the eve of the presidential election to make veiled coup threats if MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the polls.

Other senior army commanders who have made blatantly unlawful remarks threatening the opposition include Major-Generals Douglas Nyikayaramba, Martin Chedondo, Trust Mugova and General Chiwenga.

After Zvinavashe and his ilk’s infamous “straight jacket” statement motor-mouth Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba’s “thoughtless noise” a few years ago, the lull following the conclusion of the Government of National Unity and the 2013 elections won by President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party might have given Zimbabweans some modicum of peaceful sleep.

But the deadly cat-fights in Zanu PF over 91-year-old Mugabe’s succession and the brutal purge of senior leaders, including former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, could not have gone unnoticed by the military or worse still reports indicate its intricate involvement and tacit approval.

Now that Mujuru et al seem to be coalescing to form a political party that has potential to upstage Mugabe and his cabal’s power base, the army is back in the limelight, threatening the very foundations of this great nation.

Recently, Presidential Guard commander Brigadier-General Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe threatened to use violent tactics to stop Mujuru amid indications the army will be covertly deployed to combat her new movement ahead of the crucial 2018 elections.

Regrettably, this came amid disclosures the Joint Operations Command — which brings together army, police and intelligence service chiefs — was actively in operation tailing, monitoring and battling Mujuru and her allies currently on the ground setting up structures and mobilising people in preparation for the launch of their new party before the end of the year.

Sanyatwe addressed about 500 army officers of the Presidential Guard on September 2 at 2 Presidential Guard Barracks in Dzivarasekwa in Harare during his brief to mark the end of the year.

During the address, he reportedly threatened to unleash the army to violently fight Mujuru and other senior officials purged before, during and in the aftermath of the Zanu PF acrimonious congress last December.

His threats to battle Mujuru came as Zimbabwe National Army Lieutenant General Phillip Valerio Sibanda last week also warned the army will crush external and internal enemies of the state, including the opposition.

We believe that  Sanyatwe and Sibanda’s recent utterances should never be allowed to go unchallenged.

Members of the National Army go through a drill during celebrations.

In normal societies, Zvinavashe, Nyikayaramba, Martin Chedondo, Sibanda and Sanyatwe should have been told by the civilian authority to go back to their barracks and keep all citizens safe than concern themselves with issues purely political.

However, ours is not a normal society. Nyikayaramba was instead promoted for lashing out at ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in what could have constituted nothing less than treasonous talk had he directed his belligerent talk at Mugabe.

Sanyatwe thinks he will be promoted just like Nyikayaramba before him hence Mugabe should be held accountable for whatever happens as he was responsible for the deaths, disappearances and injuries sustained by ordinary people during the blood-spattered 2008 presidential run-off election if ever it can be called such.

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans lost their lives; gave the only lives they had for one-man, one-vote and the freedom of association.
Mujuru and every other civilian Zimbabwean for that matter have as much right as anyone to form a political party and seek to remove Mugabe from power constitutionally.

Sibanda, Sanyatwe and such other lap-dogs who have dumped their professionalism and oath of office to defend the country’s independence and democracy for political expediency must resign their positions and join politics if they want and see whether they will get a single vote in their favour.

They are paid by public funds and swore allegiance to Zimbabwe and not Zanu PF. Abusing the trust bestowed on them by Zimbabweans and threatening to abuse borrowed power should never be tolerated.

Mugabe must call them to order if ever he is still in-charge as he claims.


  1. What was actually said by the military leadership that calls for such retribution. May the writer furnish further information on the subject for the benefit of us poor readers

  2. Most members of the Presidential Guard are not war veterans. They are innocent youths which psyched to be killing machines for the corrupt elites like Sanyatwe while they continue to eat nhoko zvezvironda. VaSanyatwe vanoda kuramba vachimbunyikidza vanhu. Zvavakupera vakomana.

    • These writers are good at politicising everything. Zimbabwe needs strategists not political literature mafikezulu to stir the fortunes of the nation around. Let us not dwell on trivialities and focus on building a better ZIMBABWE

  3. Mugabe cannot call his boys to order as it is him who gives them instructions to make these political threats. This is like asking the devil to cast the devil. It won’t happen. That was Mugabe and not this hot head talking.

  4. I feel for the junior officers who eat grass ride in haulage trucks you would think the truck is deliverying baboons if you just stand by corner Harare Drive and Lomagundi there who are used to fight the povo so that their chefs keep looting staying in plushy houses and driving latest cars. These are the people we look to turn their guns on these loud mouths not on us povo.

  5. It’s sad that the army and police which are ordinarily supposed to protect the citizens who pay their salaries are turning against the people who feed them. Ndokunonzi kumamira paunodyira uku. Hamuoni here kuti nyika yaenda kumawere!!!! Let’s think before we utter. Do we need to involve other countries to put things in order in Zim. General Chiwenga, l appeal to you to take full responsibility and also to remain focused on you actual responsibility that of protecting all citizens of Zimbabwe despite their political affiliations. Only this will make you Zimbabwe’s hero forever. Do not be deceived by the failing party ZANU pf. The army should be preparing and be on alert to protect the winning party, be it MDC T or otherwise. Let’s prepare the exit of ZANU pf and Mugabe not protect a failed government. Long live Zimbabwe.

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