Army dodges questions on power transfer

ZIMBABWE’s military, for long accused of dabbling in partisan Zanu PF politics, yesterday ducked questions on whether they would allow for smooth transfer of power in the event of a victory by an opposition presidential candidate in the July 30 elections, curtly saying they will be guided by the Constitution.

BY staff reporters

Addressing journalists in the capital, Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) spokesperson, Colonel Overson Mugwisi also declined to declare that the military would recognise a presidential winner without liberation war credentials, saying he had no brief to tackle such issues.

“The position of the ZDF is that we abide by the Constitution of the country and our conduct is going to be guided by the Constitution of the country,” he said.

Asked if the military would accept any outcome that did not favour Zanu PF when it was clear that its November intervention was motivated by a desire to serve the ruling party, Mugwisi again skirted over the issue saying: “What we undertook to do at first is, I think we agreed that today we will be talking of the role of the ZDF in the upcoming harmonised elections, I think it is a slight departure from what we are discussing here.”

Further pressed to make a public declaration on whether the military would salute, for instance MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa if he happens to win the presidential race ahead of Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugwisi said: “I think I have made myself very clear. It was the same question asked and I don’t think it will be necessary to repeat the response.”

The opposition has demanded that the military should stay out of the electoral processes and stand ready to accept the results regardless of which party wins the July 30 polls. The demand stems from a 2002 declaration by then ZDF Commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe (now late) that the military would not salute a president without liberation war credentials.

Zvinavashe’s statement, which came on the eve of a presidential election pitting former President Robert Mugabe and the now late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, was directed at the opposition leader.

Mugwisi also evaded questions on who deployed the military to invade the streets and key State institutions ahead of Mugabe’s unceremonious departure last November.

“Unfortunately, we continue to drift away from what we set ourselves to discuss here. I think this is outside what we are discussing here. I thought I made myself very clear from the onset here that I am putting across the role of the ZDF, before, during and before the forthcoming harmonised elections. For now, leave some of those other issues, if they are meant to be media queries, we can handle those outside this fora,” Mugwisi said.

Further pressed if there would be smooth power transfer after the elections, Mugwisi said: “The conduct of the ZDF will remain guided by the Constitution of the land. We will not prevaricate or change.”

He also skirted over questions regarding the involvement of the military in Zanu PF elections where military helicopters were used to dispatch Zanu PF ballot papers for primary elections in Gokwe and Mberengwa in a move that was roundly condemned by opposition political players and even Mnangagwa himself.

“I think the position of the ZDF is clear that we are not participating in any political campaigning that you are accusing us of. I think that was made very clear,” he said.

The military spokesperson, however, said soldiers were allowed to vote for any party of their choice, but could not dabble in partisan politics while on duty. The military, Mugwisi said, would assist the police in maintaining law and order and would also provide logistical support to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) when need arises.

“Our role in the elections is mainly to support the ZRP in their role of the maintenance of law and order in the country before during and after the harmonised elections. We also remain ready to assist the Zec with transport where necessary. Beyond that, the ZDF remains ready to defend our country’s territorial integrity and interests,” he said.
Mugwisi denied reports that the army had deployed its members into the rural areas to campaign for the ruling Zanu PF.

“If some serving members are participating in the ongoing political campaigns, they will be doing so illegally and not as a result of an instruction from their commanders. Those with information on such misconduct should provide us with full details of such individuals to enable appropriate disciplinary action to be taken against them,” he said.

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  1. Silvester Matambo

    Your reporting is so pathetic and hopelessly biased towards the clueless MDC that its so tiresome to get through. Your question is irrelevant, there is not going to be any hand over of power to the ridiculous Chamisa. Come 30 July 2018 – ED Pfeeeeeeee, Chasura sorry Chamisa pfaaaaaaa!
    I urge all right thinking fellow Zimbabweans to go out in huge numbers and give ED a resounding electoral win and silence the quislings in the reactionary MDC who are out to spoil things for our country that is now going in the right direction under VaMunangagwa.

    1. Which direction?

    2. Iwe sudza, ndiwe here ukuita kunge ukupenga?

    3. You cannot even spell Mnangagwa correctly.LOL.

    4. achivhoterwa naniko iye mnangarwa wacho.

  2. Silvester Matambo

    Your reporting is so pathetic and hopelessly biased towards the clueless MDC that its so tiresome to get through. Your question is irrelevant, there is not going to be any hand over of power to the ridiculous Chamisa. Come 30 July 2018 – ED Pfeeeeeeee,Chamisa pfaaaaaaa!
    I urge all right thinking fellow Zimbabweans to go out in huge numbers and give ED a resounding electoral win and silence the quislings in the reactionary MDC who are out to spoil things for our country that is now going in the right direction under VaMunangagwa.

  3. Only an insane person will vote ZANU PF ED. People in their right senses or should I say normal people with common sense will and I repeat will never vote for ED. ED came through violence why did they use the zanu pf constitution, but instead they use force. All people who uses force or any form of violence against an opponent who is defenseless show how shallow their thinking is and they will never arise to the stage of running a government that will deliver better / good services to all the citizens. To me the Likes of ED and Chiwenga they got nothing to offer. Dont try to intimidate people with the army. The army is for everyone only misguided elements like the late Zvinavashe would want to take this country to the grave. And now where are Zvinavashe children, they are all over the world seeking green pastures. Only fools would think zanu pf can reform, never the DNA of zanu pf is to destroy with the hope of rebuilding, but history tells us the reality about zanu pf. ED lakes a backbone.

    1. Tichingotonga Vachingovukura

      Thats democracy JJ Im not a fool bt has decided to vote ED into office come July 30 ED Pfeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    2. Ukaona wese anoti vote ED anoroya.

    3. i support yu my brother

  4. Watched this interview and i am not sure were you are getting this dodging story from as the army was very straightforward and also had to put to rest lies which are paddled by some politicians and its a pity that after realising that you can no longer drag ZNA into the mud concerning the deployment to woo voters for Zanupf as alleged by a particular losing party you are left with no news but to fetch for other unfounded allegations ,shame on your reporting

    1. After Gukurahundi, 2008 election and November, there is no honour elft in the army. Try again Eliasha.

  5. “The position of the ZDF is that we abide by the Constitution of the country and our conduct is going to be guided by the Constitution of the country,”- This statement alone will tell you pathetic the reporter is. At least he should have left out this for pple to believe him.

    1. What people like you dont realise is when the army says they will be guided by the constitution they mean their OWN intepretation of the constitution. The constitution clearly states that ONLY the president can DEPLOY the army but the army deployed itself against him.The constituion has clear provisions about what to do if there are CRIMINALS around the president. It provides for impeachment by parliament a route which Zanu showed they were able to take despite refusing to do so over the years. This is why Mugwisi dodged the question on deployment as it would have led to follow up questions exposing the illegality of deployment through a wrong intepretation of the constitution by the ZDF.THEY WILL WILFULLY MISINTEPRET AGAIN TO ACHIEVE THEIR ENDS.

      1. Dimwit Magame, you resemble poverty is in your head and some senses are starving. Unorwadziwa ne state security yekuti if any party wins today it is resonant and loyal for as long as the will and stability of the people is met. You where naked bedding your ex when economy was deteriorated by your uncles who were busy looting.

        1. As usual you ZANOIDS resort to uncouth language and/or violence when faced with facts. The army was deployed by the army commanders, and not by the president, as the constitution of the country says. The question is, won’t they do that again? Does the army have the right to remove a president, even if he is “surrounded by criminals”? Zvipeiwo nguva yekufunga vakomana.

          1. Ana Decorum ndovanhu vanofunga kwete ana Mary vanongowawata. Mary you have no answer to what I said bcoz its the truth.

  6. So the reporter was expecting the colonel to interpret all the constitutional provisions governing Army operations during a 1 hour press conference. I thought You have access to the referred constitution and lawyers to interpret it for you sir

  7. Regai zvirotomoke EdPfee

  8. Farai J Nhire

    The question of handing over power to Chamisa was irrelevant since the boy is no longer interested in contesting against an overwhelmingly popular Ed.

  9. Uno nyepa iwe mwana we nyoka inyoka kuruma kwaka fanana zanu kuwina zimbabwe nhamo haiperi zvavatadza inga ndivo vari kutonga wani not kutungamira vano zozvigonz here failed for the past 38 years kuzoti nhasi keep quiet Matambo sily guy

  10. We the people will give those who are boastful and arrogant a rude awakening, don`t be overconfident coz we know what we want, we showed you what we can do if not oppressed in 2008 and we will do it again this time. We don`t forget easily our brothers and sisters who were maimed and killed by these thugs. Factor in Gukurahundi some people have no chance here, Game On.

  11. We might all have different opinions on who to vote for come election time.But I think we can all agree that this reporter is an imbecile

  12. Farai J Nhire

    The gukurahundi masterminder Uncle Bob is now part and parcel of Mdc Alliance.

  13. This Gwisi guy should not be telling us about the Constitution. We all know what it says – what we want to hear is whether they will respect the outcome of the election in which Gukurahundi ZANU PF party and its Butcher of Matebeleland are the losers. We want to hear it from the horse’s mouth, given that they are known violators of the Constitution. There is no war in Zim and elections are not a war. Therefore, the army should not involve itself in elections in whatever manner or form. Leave the Police to handle everything. In SA, the army is never involved in any civilian matters whether political or not. They are always the last resort for the Government to call upon when the Police are unable to cope with a situation; which never happens in majority of cases, and only through Parliament. In Zim, it seems the army is always the first resort in all matters political and civilian, why? Are they trying to justify their existence?

  14. Come 30 July, the result will give Chamisa a big silence. Kune vose vane mibvunzo please chimboichengetai kusvika ma elections apfuura, mhinduro dzenyu munodziwana. Musanyanye kurwadziwa kuti nyika ine runyararo kuburikidza ne security. Apo tajekeserwa kuti masoja vane kodzero dzakafanana nevamwe vose uye vanotevedzera bumbiro remutemo wenyika yeZimbabwe. Pasi nemhandu

  15. Farai J Nhire

    The butcher of matebelaland is uncle Bob who now happens to be the chief sponsor of Mdc Alliance. He is the one who has been the commander in chief of the army and whoever butchered ndebeles incuding some karangas also.

    1. The Butcher of Matebeleland is the one who called our people Cockroaches who deserve DDT; which even Ian Smith with his racist regime never said against Black people. Yet he has Cockroach in his own home as a Son-In-Law. By extension he has Cockroach dissident relatives in his backyard. Mugabe never called us Cockroaches. Whilst Mugabe said Gukurahundi was a regrettable moment of madness; the Butcher of Matebeleland said it was a closed Chapter. Surely you can tell the difference; cant you?

  16. machinja ese ane rudo arikuziva pekuvhota vamugabe vakuzviziva dr disgrace vakuzviziva bona ballemine narobert vakuzviziva muruzhevha ese vakuzviziva mumatown ese vakuzviziva.Chamisa woyeeeeeeeeee

  17. munhu anovhotera ZANU ndeuya ane HIV iri serious akuziva kuti akuda kutofa. ungandidii ini kadhimba

  18. Is it 100% guaranteed that if the millitary say they will salute anyone ahwinha, they will not act the opposite kana Chamisa ahwinha? Vanhu munoswerochemera zvisina basa. Imi makaudza vasikana wani kuti ndinokuroora kana wandida makavoroora vose? Tikwanirei. MDC was used to campaign about violence in rural areas zvino this time hakuna zvakadaro. Now busy attacking ZEC, the security forces, evryone, etc. Truly speaking the rmy did a sterling job to remove Mugabe. pasina ivo hapana aibvisa Mugabe naGrace till his death.

  19. @Mafirakureva, this is so simple, If they cant say it means they do not want to Salute anyone other than Junta Pf. Its important for ZDF to comment because the Mukhupes and Hungwes have put a lot of words into ZDF mouths. Why doesn’t ZDF clear themselves. Zanu yesterday, is still the same Zanu today, or even worse. They will loose this election if they fairly.

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