HomeNewsArmy should stay away from civilian politics: ZPP

Army should stay away from civilian politics: ZPP

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VICE-PRESIDENT, Phelekezela Mphoko’s call for military intervention in Zanu PF’s raging factional politics is irresponsible, and a recipe for instability in the country ahead of the 2018 general elections, a human rights group has said.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko
Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said the military must stay away from civilian politics as their intervention will likely result in human rights violations, as shown by the army’s role in the 1980’s Gukurahundi atrocities.

At least 20 000 civilians were killed by a crack army unit dispatched by President Robert Mugabe’s government to hunt down suspected PF-Zapu dissidents in Midlands and Matabeleland regions in the 1980s.

“The military has in the past intervened in political disputes, particularly during the Gukurahundi atrocities and most recently in the 2008 elections with grave consequences for the citizens. Many people lost their lives while others now live with permanent scars as a result of deployment of the military to solve civilian political disputes.

“Military intervention would most certainly result in human rights violations for ordinary citizens. The ZPP is deeply concerned that these utterances will not bode well for peace and stability as the 2018 elections beckon,” the ZPP said.

Mphoko told Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) veterans in Bulawayo on Sunday that the security forces should take action against ex-combatants and youths insulting Mugabe over his refusal to step down.

But ZPP said Mphoko’s remarks were irresponsible and are likely to cause tension between the army and the public.

“It is clear that internal political party disputes do not constitute an emergency or natural disaster and any call for the military to be used in order to curtail the rights of ordinary citizens to pursue politics is unlawful.

“In the interest of peace and stability the ZPP condemns the invitation for the military to involve itself in internal ruling party politics and in civilian politics in general. Other political parties do not have the luxury of using the military to further their own political agendas and the military must be seen to be serving all citizens equally,” the ZPP added.

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