Retired senior army officers and Zanu PF loyalists masquerading as legal experts also lashed out at the MDC-T leader and warned him against making statements that incited violence against members of the force.
Addressing an MDC-T rally at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru on Sunday, Prime Minister Tsvangirai threw a challenge at the security chiefs to resign from their posts and take up politics full time.
But Mutasa said the MDC-T leader should concentrate on running his party and stop trying to bring the integrity of the security chiefs into disrepute.
Reacting to Mr Tsvangirai’s comments that the generals should quit the army and contest in the political arena, Mutasa said the generals were not politicians.
“Tsvangirai should stop hiding behind unreasonable claims that soldiers are disturbing him. It is his inability to run his party that is making him a failure.
“He should just run his party in peace and if he has failed, he should find someone else to run it.
“He should not be saying those things about soldiers, saying President Mugabe is ill and all those stupid things,” Minister Mutasa said.
Minister Mutasa said the generals and their soldiers were professionals who executed their duties above politics.
He said the security chiefs had a right to freedom of expression just like any free Zimbabwean.
“The generals I know don’t talk politics. There could be a problem of interpretation where some people think that if someone says something, they will be involving themselves in politics.
“Besides, a soldier is also a human being and they shouldn’t be denied the right to say things which are being said at that particular time.
“There is absolutely no reason for Tsvangirai to attack them,” Minister Mutasa said.
Mr Tsvangirai told the rally that the security chiefs should declare their political interests openly and stop intimidating people.
“Some say we don’t support Tsvangirai and we will not support him but . . . let’s wait and see what happens after the elections. Why can’t we cross the bridge when we get to it.
“If you want politics, remove the uniform and we will show you what politics is. It is not guns. Stop intimidating people, convince Zimbabweans to vote for you,” Mr Tsvangirai said.
He added: “We don’t argue with soldiers. The institutions of the army and police are national organs not owned by individuals so if it’s about elections, remove the uniform and we meet in the political sphere.”
Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, a well know Zimbabwe Defence Forces arms trader who made most of his money selling banned landmines to rogue groups across the World said although Mr Tsvangirai was entitled to his political opinion, the statements he made were uncalled for and did not help the country.
“Some of these utterances are uncalled for. When you talk to the public you should examine what you say carefully. You must not say things that are provocative and that do not help to improve the lives of the people,” he said.
A senior police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “When somebody issues such statements which concern the State that does not make that person a politician.
“Elsewhere even in the United States, service chiefs issue those statements concerning the security of their country.”
Another Zanu PF loyalist tagged as Legal expert, Mr Terrance Hussein said: “The Prime Minister must realise that he is not a Prime Minister of the MDC-T but that of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
“As a national leader, you should not get on to the podium and attack an arm of the state. If he is unhappy with a Government that he leads, he either sorts out the issues or resign. That is the way it is done the world over.”
Retired Brigadier Felix Muchemwa yesterday said every member of the force had his/her political allegiance and that was enshrined in the constitution.
He said members of the force were controlled by the Defence Act and no politician was allowed to have contact with them unless the person followed the command structures.
“Tsvangarai should behave as a Government official. No Minister or Government official can demand any salute because there is no law compelling members of the uniformed forces to do so. There is only one person, who is the Commander in Chief – who deserves that and for Tsvangirai to face the generals, he must do so through the Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces. Not what he is suggesting,” he said.
Zanu PF Security chiefs have said the office of the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is a straight jacket reserved for people with liberation war credentials.
In 2002 Zimbabwe’s military and security chiefs warned that they would not accept any political leader whose agenda reversed the gains of the liberation struggle for which lives were lost.
The MDC-T has been accusing the security arms of the State of dabbling in politics by issuing such statements.
The party and its western sponsors have been pushing for security sector reform but Zanu-PF has said that was a non starter.