APOSTLE Peter writes in the Bible that “with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day.” The dramatic events of the past 37 days can best be described thus when the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) timeously intervened to put an end to the unscrupulous dealings of the G40 cabal that surrounded former President Robert Mugabe.
By virtue of its proximity to the former President, this cabal of criminals were causing anxiety and despondency and the inevitable happened when on November 13, the ZDF launched Operation Restore Legacy, with an initial address by the then Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantino Nyikadzino Guveya Chiwenga.
Since November 15, the military has been deployed at strategic positions across the country.
However, on Monday, the Defence and Security Services announced the end of the Operation, an action that will see the military going back to their barracks, while the Zimbabwe Republic Police was “expected to fully take over their responsibilities and perform according to their Constitutional mandate and Client Service Charter.”
The action taken by the Defence and Security Services was an indicator that they had achieved the objectives that brought them on the streets, since it was followed by a number of dramatic events that led former President Mugabe to resign, subsequently leading to Cde Mnangagwa being chosen not only to lead the ruling Zanu-PF party, but to also constitutionally serve as Head of State and Government, and Commander-in-Chief until the harmonised elections of 2018.
During the past 37 days, the Defence and Security Services won the admiration of the generality of Zimbabweans and the international community. The manner they conducted business resulted in a smooth transition in power and foreign delegates to the Zanu-PF Extraordinary Congress last Friday sang praises to the military’s smart conduct, while pointing out that there were major lessons to learn from Zimbabwe.
This was a job well executed although they pointed out that some of the criminals had escaped and were now trying to sow seeds of dissent from their foreign bases. Our defence forces also showed that the discipline and unity of purpose they demonstrate while on foreign duty could also be applied at home and achieve tremendous results.
They go back to their various barracks, mission accomplished, but also with high hopes that this new era that was ushered in 37 days ago will propel Zimbabwe to be a leading nation economically, politically, socially, culturally and religiously, a Zimbabwe that all the citizens will be proud of. Thus they called on everyone to take seriously President Mnangagwa’s call that it will no longer be business as usual, and that Zanu-PF was now taking a paradigm shift as it will now focus on politics and economics. As the Defence Forces, they realise that not heeding this call will continue to slide Zimbabwe into economic oblivion.
The Defence and Security Services also know that they are a people’s army, thus they thanked all Zimbabweans “for their support, patience and understanding during the five weeks of Operation Restore Legacy.” It’s a mark of magnanimity that the military extended their apologies for the “inconvenience and anxiety” that the Operation “might have caused in certain circles of our nation.”
Now as the ZDF hand over policing to the ZRP, it is important to heed a number of issues they raised on unity, corruption, being law-abiding citizens, vigilance and focusing on the development of the country. Thus it is important to say to the ZRP that the ball is now in their court to ensure that their law enforcement and public relations with the people is beyond reproach.
The ZDF raised the bar in how they related to people and the police have to rise to the occasion. Policing, especially the numerous roadblocks and harassment of motorists and ordinary people that we saw in the past, will not be in sync with the new dispensation where everyone looks forward to a bright future.
The ZDF has handed over policing at the height of the festive season when many people will be travelling and we hope the ZRP will perform their duties with decorum and distinction in line with their motto ‘Pro Lege, Pro Patria, Pro Populo (for the Law, for the Country, and for The People).