From left to right: Newly appointed ZANU-PF vice president Constantino Chiwenga, new ZDF leader General Philip V. Sibanda and Minister of Agriculture Perence Shiri [Tendai Marima/Al Jazeera]
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, has warned he will fire senior military and security officers who have meddled in the country’s politics.
Chamisa said this on Wednesday, while addressing party supporters gathered to pay tribute to the late opposition lawmaker Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java in Harare’s Glen View suburb.
Java who succumbed to injuries sustained in a car accident last month was daughter to the late former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MP for Glen View South.
“The Commander of our army is the head of the State military not party military. That is why we want to fire some who have been abused to work for a party rather than the State.
“The MDC and Zanu PF have one army, one CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) and one police (force). Some have accused us of threatening to fire them all but no we want to fire those who are abusing the State,” said Chamisa.
“If you are soldiers you should respect the will of the people, because you are not a party army or party militia, we respect the army. Isn’t we will be working with them pretty soon. So lets get to know each other better.”
Current Commander Defence Forces is General Philip Valerio Sibanda. The opposition has in the past accused the country’s security services of aiding Zanu PF to rig elections and retain power by hook or crook.
The army was instrumental in the removal of former President Robert Mugabe in the November 2017’s military assisted transition that brought President Emmerson Mnangagwa to power.
Mnangagwa immediately appointed then Commander Defence Forces, Constantino Chiwenga as one of his two deputies. Other senior military generals have since been appointed to government positions as well as into ambassadorial postings.
Over the years, Zimbabwe’s top military commanders have attended Zanu PF functions and some have openly declared their allegiance to the ruling party.
On the eve of the 2002 elections senior security officers led by then Commander Defence Forces Vitalis Zvinavashe announced they would not salute “anyone without liberation war credentials” a statement critics said was aimed at then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who was tipped to win the polls.
Since then several senior army figures have at one point or another announced the opposition would never take power in Zimbabwe. – NewZim