MDC-T busy constricting the democratic space

Morgan Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai

Charity Maodza Correspondent
The rate at which MDC-T officials are revealing their undemocratic traits is alarmingly unnerving. Just before the dust had settled on the shocking and unilateral scrapping of primary elections by the MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, another high ranking official, Tapiwa Mashakada, released an additional undemocratic shocker.

Speaking to a local daily recently, Mashakada, who is the party’s secretary for finance and economic affairs, arrogantly posited that uniformed forces should be denied the right to vote in order to allegedly make them non-partisan.

Mashakada is quoted saying that Zimbabwe should emulate Tunisia, which disenfranchised its uniformed forces. He said: “Did you know that in Tunisia, the land from which the Arab Spring began, uniformed forces are not allowed to vote or participate in politics? They are apolitical. I think we need constitutional amendment number two (on non-partisan uniformed forces). To me, the Tunisian case makes sense.”

Unbeknown to the MDC-T secretary for finance and economic affairs, he had inadvertently exposed his party’s long-held wish to stoke Arab-Spring-like disturbances in Zimbabwe, which were palpably thwarted by the ever vigilant and gallant uniformed forces, making them a hurdle to this heinous ploy.

That is why the MDC-T now wants to disenfranchise the uniformed forces in a bid to emasculate them for political expediency. What is surprising though is that the MDC-T is fervently pushing for the suffrage of those residing in places yonder, in Diaspora, yet it is energetically assailing the same rights for the resident uniformed forces, who are actually a cornerstone to the country’s geo-political architecture.

More befuddling is that the MDC-T is even overzealously lobbying for the right for convicted criminals to vote.

It is fully behind a High Court application, where three of its convicted members; Yvonne Musarurwa, Last Maengahama and Tungamirai Madzokere, who were sentenced to 20 years in jail for murdering police Inspector Petros Mutedza, are pleading for the right to vote in 2018.

How can an ostensibly right-minded party lobby for criminals to vote while denying the same right to the constitutionally entitled security forces, who are day and night safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity?

Where is the democracy in closing the democratic space to the uniformed forces? It is clear that the opposition has a bone to chew with the security forces.

Other than calling for the disenfranchisement of the security forces, the MDC-T has long been calling for the so-called security sector reforms.

The reforms are euphemism for the total disbandment of all the current crop of veteran security officials, to supplant them with pro-opposition goons, who are likely to be drawn from the ranks of the Democratic Resistance Committees (DRCs), the rag tag gang infamous for unleashing violence on citizens.

The MDC-T’s gripe with the uniformed forces extends beyond the borders as it feeds into the futile attempt by their British benefactors to militarily invade the Zimbabwe in 2000.

In 2013, former South African President Thabo Mbeki revealed that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair secretly approached him, asking for assistance to militarily invade Zimbabwe after the country embarked on the Fast-track Land Reform Programme.

Other sources similarly revealed that Blair also approached two unnamed Southern African countries, asking for land and airspace to launch its military invasion of Zimbabwe.

As the last line of defence, the security forces picked wind of these plans well before their execution and urgently warned one of the SADC countries that was warming up to the British idea of invading Zimbabwe, thus forestalling the whole operation.

This left a sour taste in the mouths of the British and their local surrogates, hence their spirited efforts to castrate the uniformed forces by all means necessary. So plans by the MDC-T to enervate the uniformed forces should be seen in the context of a long-mooted plans by the erstwhile British colonisers to weaken Zimbabwe’s defence forces and possibly open up the country to neo-imperial ploys.

The MDC-T is actually doing itself a disservice. A political party that distrust the defence forces cannot be entrusted with the keys of the country since it is susceptible to foreign pressures to open up the country to neo-imperial whims.

However, we are getting an instructive peek into what the MDC-T will do once it gets into power. It is a party of phony democrats, who would constrict the democratic space to suit their political and neo-imperial objectives.

Today, it is the uniformed forces who are targeted for disenfranchisement, tomorrow it would be traditional leaders, nurses and the rest of civil servants, who will be neutered on the basis of the puerile fear that they would become partisan in their work.

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