Finance deputy minister Terrence Mukupe has a knack for uttering the most unsavoury things and there is need for him to be publicly censured.
His latest gaffe that the military will not allow MDC-T leader, Nelson Chamisa in the event he won elections is an anathema to democracy and the message that his boss, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been preaching.
Mnangagwa has been promising free and fair elections, meaning he is prepared to concede defeat and not go against the will of the people, were he to lose and also expects his opponents to concede gracefully were he to win.
The President has also been preaching that the voice of the people is the voice of god, meaning whoever wins elections should be given the chance to rule without any military interference.
There has always been a question of the military’s involvement in the country’s politics and it would be helpful if the army bosses could also go out and say they will respect the will of the people and this will put politicians like Mukupe in their place, while assuring Zimbabweans that the soldiers are on their side.
In the meantime, Mnangagwa must quickly dissociate himself from Mukupe’s statement, while the deputy minister should be forced to apologise.
Politicians with such thinking should be nowhere near public office, as they do not rely on their popularity but on the might of the bullet.
Mukupe’s has had a chequered time in public office, jumping from one gaffe to the next.
He has been implicated in fuel smuggling, been accused of assaulting a top official in his office and now he has declared the military will not allow Chamisa to rule.
We reiterate that Mnangagwa must either publicly censure him or even fire him because these statements are inexcusable.
Mnangagwa’s legitimacy — considering the way he came into power — rides on the credibility of these elections and Mukupe’s utterances will not do the President any favours.
It is imperative now that he issues a statement distancing himself from Mukupe’s sentiments and apologise for them.
Failure to do that will give his critics and sceptics ammunition and they will feel vindicated that Mnangagwa’s rule is no different from that of his predecessor, Robert Mugabe.
The ball is in Mnangagwa’s court and he has to do the right thing.