Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa, who helped negotiate President Robert Mugabe’s return to power after the March 2008 electoral defeat to the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai, said his party voluntarily gave the commanders and securocrats power to manage both the political and economic sides of the country.
The Zanu PF militia, including members of the military proceeded to butcher civilians in a bid to force voters to back Mugabe in a subsequent June 2008 run-off whose results were later rejected by the African Union.
Chinamasa has now given Zimbabweans who suffered the brunt of the 2008 brutal action a hint of the origins of their torment.
In an interview with the state media at the weekend, Chinamasa said Zanu PF and Mugabe could no longer handle the fallout and needed help from men and women of the gun and securocrats hence invited them to direct economic and political matters.
As a result military, secret service and police commanders formed part of what the Justice minister called a “war room”.
“Because this (economic collapse) was a security issue, I now involved people who would normally have nothing whatsoever to do with the budget (finances) of the state. So, I informally put together a team to brainstorm and quarrel with.
“The team comprised General Chiwenga, Police commissioner-general Chihuri, Central Intelligence Organisation Director-General (Happyton) Bonyongwe, minister (Nicholas) Goche, minister (Emmerson) Mnangagwa, George Charamba, and Gershom Pasi, Willard Manungo, Gideon Gono, and at some point, (Sydney) Sekeramayi, I think in the initial meetings,” Chinamasa is quoted as saying.
“It was a war room. I wanted all these people to know that the coffers were empty and that posed a serious threat to national security,” said Chinamasa.
According to civil society, churches and other human rights groups, more than 200 Zanu PF opponents were murdered by the militia and war veterans fighting in Mugabe’s corner.
Security sector commanders continue to interfere in political and economic matters of the country.
They have also threatened to stop anyone other than Mugabe or a Zanu PF war liberation veteran from taking power, irrespective of election results.
Chinamasa appears to support their stance, and has of late campaigned to have army generals allowed to campaign on behalf of Zanu PF.
“Those people have an obligation to protect this country.
They have their friends who died to liberate this country so they cannot just watch people doing things contrary to what the liberation struggle was for,” said Chinamasa last month responding to UN human rights chief Navi Pillay’s comment on the behaviour of securocrats.
Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller MDC faction, have described these statements as “treasonous” warning that if not stopped, the next elections are going to be bloody.
Simba Makoni, a former close ally of Mugabe who left to form his own party in 2008, this week also joined in and warned of a bloody election if the generals are not put on a leash.
Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa were the most high-profile figures to leave the Zanu PF politburo in 2008 to oppose Mugabe.
Makoni now leads his Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn outfit while Dabengwa revived Zapu.
“Both Mugabe and these military generals are in dereliction of duty,” Makoni told the Daily News on the sidelines of his party’s third anniversary celebrations.
“The current constitution does not allow them to do that and Mugabe has let them get away with it,” said Makoni.
He, however said the security sector commanders did not enjoy the support of their juniors.
“I know men and women of the Zimbabwe National Army, police and other security agents, they do not subscribe to the notion that ‘we do not salute anyone without liberation war credentials’,” said Makoni.
“They will salute anyone elected by the people. There are a few people who are making these statements and imposing their views on our security institutions, these are the people who need de-politicisation,” Makoni said.
“It is unacceptable for someone in uniform to abuse his office for their personal position. If the generals want to be Zanu PF political commissars, they are welcome to do so but have to remove that uniform first,” the former finance minister said. – Daily News