EVENTS of the past few days can be described as most unusual for Zimbabwe. That is because the military does not readily interfere in civilian political affairs. Yet this week they had to break with this long tradition, in the words of the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, because of “instability in Zanu-PF” which was causing a lot of anxiety in the population. He said the problems in the revolutionary party were “a direct result of the machinations of counter-revolutionaries who have infiltrated the party and whose agenda is to destroy it from within”.
More specifically, General Constantino Chiwenga said on Monday: “We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in.” And Zanu-PF is the embodiment of that revolution.
The aim, the military said, was not to effect a coup, but stabilise the situation in the country and return operations to normalcy.
Major-General Sibusiso Moyo, in an address to the nation on ZBCTv yesterday morning, also assured the nation that there was no intention to stage a coup. He stated that President Mugabe’s safety and security were guaranteed while the military was “only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice”.
It is not for us to define for the ZDF which activities can easily lead to national instability, but what cannot be denied is that they are heavily invested in the affairs of Zanu-PF and its state of health ahead of harmonised elections next year.
Moreover, like everyone else, they are affected by the daily economic and political developments in the country.
For a long time President Mugabe has warned party supporters against engaging in petty squabbles and pursuing personal vendettas at the expense of service to the people. He has spoken strongly against corruption. He has also made several appeals against factionalism in the revolutionary party, and how this scourge can easily weaken the party. All this has gone unheeded, which could explain in part why there has been little action in the implementation of the revolutionary party’s Zim-Asset programme even as the economic blueprint enters its final phase.
If for nothing else, if the intervention by the military in the affairs of Zanu-PF can in a small way remind party officials of the President’s exhortations and get them to refocus their attention on those who voted for them, that action would have done a lot for the ruling party. There is a huge dividend in the end in the form of an assured electoral victory next year and also rekindling the revolutionary spirit which has made Zanu-PF a household name in Zimbabwe and beyond. It has become a living brand, which unfortunately was being soiled by those who should be helping the President in the execution of his duties.
We don’t doubt the deleterious impact on the economy of sanctions imposed on the country by Western European nations and the United States over the land reform programme. But that cannot be the sole reason. There is just too much time wasted on personal affairs while the nation is neglected. Meanwhile, we hope those in charge of the affairs of the State will put their heads together and return the nation to normalcy as soon as possible. It is not elections alone pressing upon us.
The farming season demands full attention in the form of resources. Productivity is what will keep Zanu-PF in power and assure the nation of stability.