Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) have every right to take up civilian positions as they are entitled to the same rights and privileges as citizens of every country, a senior Government official has said. Secretary for Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba said so long as members of the military were qualified for a given post, there was no lawful cause to stop them from taking any job.
Mr Charamba said this yesterday in an interview with a local radio station, Capitalk FM. He was responding to claims by former Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Jonathan Moyo during a BBC current affairs programme, HardTalk, that the military had taken over administration of the Government.
“I never see the military. I see citizens who are keen to serve their own country. If I was to get an engineer who joins the military, does that amount to engineering the military? If there is a journalist who finds some space within the military, does it amount to turning the military into journalistic proposition? No!
“There is a very limited tenure within the military, but more importantly, military people are still citizens of this country. If they have the intellect, if they have the vision, which can take this country forward, there is nothing either constitutional or by way of morality, which stops them from joining Government,” said Mr Charamba.
He said the assumption of civilian duties by the military was not peculiar to Zimbabwe. Military personnel, he said, had already demonstrated the ability to drive the economy in the portfolios they had been assigned. “Even this whole Twitter, which Jonathan enjoys is a product of the military. Does he know that?” Mr Charamba said there was no death warrant against Prof Moyo, but one which he imposed on his own family by running away from them.
“What I know is that he ran away from his family and left his children in the custody of a 93-year-old President. Remember, I was part of the negotiating team, and one question that kept on coming up from the former President was that ‘we do not even know how to handle this large family he left in our hands’. He gave a death warrant to his own family,” he said.
He said the Government was preoccupied with issues of turning around the economy together with election preparations he said were coming “sooner than what you guys expected”. The Government spokesman also said while people were entitled to freedom of expression and association, it was critical to concentrate on what brought food to the table.