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‘Chiwenga is offside’

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COMMANDER of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantino Chiwenga has broken his oath of office and the values of the country’s Constitution as a serving soldier, and should be charged, opposition parties and legal experts have said.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

General Constantino Chiwenga
General Constantino Chiwenga

Chiwenga reportedly referred to Zanu PF as “our party” during a military parade held at One Commando Barracks in honour of the late national hero, Brigadier General James Murozvi on Tuesday.

“Your (Murozvi) blood has indeed watered the Zimbabwean flag, as we used to sing during the war of liberation,” he said.

“Ours is to continue it, our role as the veterans of the liberation struggle, of being the ideological school of the nation, custodians of the revolution and the bedrock upon which our party Zanu PF shall continue to build itself as long as we survive.”

Legal expert and researcher, Dereck Matyszak said Chiwenga had abused a national event to further the interests of a political party and should be charged.

He said Chiwenga breached Section 211 of the Constitution, which requires him to act in a non-partisan manner.

“But what is even more important is that Section 210 establishes an independent complaints handling mechanism that the public may approach in such cases, where there is misconduct by members of the security services. But our government has no appetite for such things,” Matyszak said.

“Chiwenga could also be investigated and charged by the Defence Services Commission, but that obviously will not happen.”

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said securocrats were hugely compromised.

He said the MDC-T had been inundated with reports from the countryside that serving military personnel were being absorbed into Zanu PF structures ahead of the general elections next year.

“We have reports that soldiers are being conscripted into Zanu PF structures as part of preparations for elections next year. That is a frightening prospect and raises the spectre of another bloody poll next year,” Gutu said.

But asked if the ruling party had problems with Chiwenga speaking as a member of Zanu PF, party spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo said: “I am saying let those aggrieved speak to him.”

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said: “He (Chiwenga) is a partisan general and wants to turn the Zimbabwe Defence Forces into a Zanu PF youth wing. This is the danger of having old people still manning important institutions. Chiwenga and those below him are supposed to provide security to all Zimbabweans regardless of colour, creed, as well as every religious and political persuasion.”

Zimbabwe People First co-leader and former Intelligence minister, Didymus Mutasa said Chiwenga “should be forgiven”.

“He knows nothing beyond Zanu PF and should be forgiven for being that myopic. We used to think like him, but now, we know better.
Zimbabwe is greater than Zanu PF and if anything, that party is coming to an end. It is difficult for people like Chiwenga to think of anything else,” he said.

“The people’s general, the late Josiah Tongogara, was of a different class. He fought for all Zimbabweans despite their colour or political inclination.”

MDC spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi weighed in, saying: “Zimbabweans feel scared by such conduct as Chiwenga exhibits. Our advice to Chiwenga is to please remove the people’s military fatigue and join Zanu PF.”

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