….blast military involvement in Zanu PF
By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Opposition political parties in Zimbabwe have scoffed at the recently ended Zanu PF conference and blasted the involvement of the military in the politics of the country particularly their involvement at the Zanu PF functions.
President Robert Mugabe who is also the Zanu PF leader recently warned members of the military against meddling in the party’s affairs.
However, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which is led by Tendai Biti, in a press statement described the conference as a ‘national tragedy’ charging that the presence of the military at the just ended Zanu PF conference is ‘shocking’.
PDP also noted that Mugabe’s admission that the securocrats need to stay away from politics vindicates the opposition parties.
“What is shocking was the heavy military presence at the venue of a private function. The presence of the top military brass as well as a large military deployment laid bare the thin arguments of the ruling party propaganda machinery, which has dismissed the growing calls for security sector reforms. So bad is the situation with regard to security sector involvement in civilian affairs such that Robert Mugabe himself complained of the defence forces’ participation in the party’s factional fights.” read part of the statement.
The PDP further questioned the military involvement in Zanu PF affairs saying if they were associated with Zanu PF politics then they could also be associated with national politics, hence the need for ‘demilitarisation’ of government institutions.
“If therefore the securocrats are so deeply involved in the ZANU PF wars, one wonders how involved they will be when the very national leadership question is at stake. We have always argued that in order for Zimbabwe to move forward politics and government institutions must be demilitarized and the sights of hundreds of soldiers carrying guns and manning various outposts to the venue is far from encouraging” the party said.
Commenting on the same issue Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe Spokesperson Pishayi Muchauraya lashed out at the recently ended Zanu PF conference saying it was just a ‘drain on the fiscus’.
‘It was just a fiscus draining venture meant to prop up Mugabe’s dynasty , no significant policy issues raised save the admission by the aging dictator that the state security agents were running show. This explains why there were no resolutions at the end of the money spinning and hate filled indaba.’ he said.
Muchauraya further said while his party was not happy about military involvement in politics, Mugabe’ decision to reprimand the security forces in the public was unfortunate.
“As RDZ we condemn Mugabe’s conduct as the Commander in Chief of the national security force to call a political party rally / conference to pronounce threats to the security forces. He should proper channels to communicate his displeasure. Such behaviour would under normal circumstances result in him losing respect of the force and compromises internal stability” he said.
Muchauraya further called on Mugabe to resign over his comments saying; “Such a scenario calls for him to resign as he compromised his credentials as suitable Commander in Chief”.
ZAPU spokesperson Mjobisa Noko said the Zanu PF congress was not going to solve the country’s economy since the ruling party has nothing new to offer 35 years after independence.
On the security sector involvement in Zanu PF affairs, Noko said the constitution is very clear in that they must remain apolitical saying the recent statements by Mugabe are a sign that military involvement was beginning to ‘bite Zanu PF’.
“The security services should never involve themselves in the politics of the country. The constitution is very clear on that. In Zimbabwe they has been no distinction between Zanu PF and the government, hence the military involvement in Zanu PF affairs is beginning to bite them. When we spoke against this they thought we are mad” said Noko.