A STATEMENT issued by the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Constantino Chiwenga, purporting to speak on behalf of the ZDF, was not only surprising and outrageous but suggests treasonable conduct on his part as it was meant to incite insurrection and violent challenge to the Constitutional Order, the ruling Zanu-PF party said yesterday.
It said the unsigned statement did not represent the rest of the Command Element of the armed forces and Zanu-PF – as the party running the democratically elected Government of Zimbabwe — would never succumb to any threats, least of all, those deriving from conduct that is inconsistent with the tenets of democracy and Constitutionalism.
On Monday, Gen Chiwenga addressed a Press Conference at the KGVI army headquarters in Harare during which he read a prepared statement which sought to direct Zanu-PF on how to conduct its internal affairs.
He made demands that the ruling party should fulfill failure to which the army would “step in”.
Gen Chiwenga directed Zanu-PF to “expose and fish out” known counter-revolutionary elements “who have fomented the current instability in the party”, stop reckless utterances by politicians in the party denigrating the military and stop the current disciplinary process meant to weed out elements that colluded, aided and abetted former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s quest to unconstitutionally usurp power from President Mugabe.
Zanu-PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday said consistent with the guiding principle of the liberation struggle, Zanu-PF reaffirms the primacy of politics over the gun.
“It is against an understanding of this abiding principle that the statement issued by General Constantino Chiwenga purporting to speak on behalf of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces was not only surprising, but was an outrageous vitiation of professional soldiership and his war time record as a high ranking freedom fighter entrusted with Command responsibilities in a free and democratic Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Clearly calculated to disturb national peace and stability, the said statement by Gen Chiwenga, which was not signed, and which did not represent the rest of the Command Element, suggest treasonable conduct on his part as this was meant to incite insurrection and violent challenge to the Constitutional Order. Indeed this is what happens when the gun seeks to overreach by dictating to politics and norms of Constitutionality”.
Cde Khaya Moyo, who is also the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, said not too far back, President Mugabe, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the ZDF, reminded members of the uniformed forces of their subordinate place and role vis-à-vis the political authority of the land.
“By yesterday (Monday)’s reprehensible conduct, it would appear that this wise counsel not only went unheeded, but was flagrantly flouted in deference to factional politics and personal ambitions. Such conduct stands unreservedly condemned not only in the party, but also in our Southern African region and the entire African continent where subversion of Constitutional Authority is frowned upon and regarded as an absolute anathema,” he said.
Former VP Mnangagwa was dismissed from Government by President Mugabe last Monday over allegations of, among other things, disloyalty, disrespect, deceit, unreliability and lack of probity in the execution of his duties.
His discharge of duties had also become inconsistent with his responsibilities.
Last Wednesday, Mr Mnangagwa was expelled from Zanu-PF following recommendations made by the party’s 10 Provincial Co-ordinating Committees.
The decision was reached during the 313th Ordinary Session of the Politburo which unanimously endorsed his dismissal from Government.
Since then more than 100 party members, among them Politburo and Central Committee members, accused of working with former VP Mnangagwa in his bid to unprocedurally succeed President Mugabe, have been recommended for either suspension or expulsion.
Zanu-PF has however, emphasised that all disciplinary cases should be dealt with in accordance with laid down procedures set out in the party constitution.