Kudzanai Chipanga Correspondent
AS the youth of Zimbabwe and as the young people whose future will be determined by the actions taken in the present, we have noted with shock, displeasure and disappointment the Press statement of the Commander of the Defence Forces, General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga issued yesterday. We, as Zanu-PF Youth League, are a lion which has awakened and found its voice, therefore we will not sit idly and fold our hands whilst cheap potshots and threats are made against the legitimate and popularly elected leader of the revolutionary party Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
This statement is therefore issued without regret, fear or compunction. Defending the revolution and our leader and President is an ideal we live for and if need be it is a principle we are prepared to die for. From the outset we would like to make it clear that we have every respect for the armed forces in this country and cherish their role in protecting and safeguarding the country and its revolution.
We are, however, totally against the bulk of the press statement issued by General Chiwenga yesterday. We believe that the views he exposed are his personal opinions and not the collective view of the security forces as a whole. It is no secret that the security forces in Zimbabwe know their parameters and hence the international respect they earned wherever they have played, we therefore, address him directly and in kind.
The independence and democracy we enjoy did not come through the barrel of the mouth or press conferences, but through the barrel of the gun and tens of thousands shed their blood in a great sacrifice for the independence, peace and democracy which is now under assault. This freedom is, therefore, sacrosanct and we will not fold our hands to allow a creature of the Constitution subvert the very Constitution which establishes it. Section 211(3) of the Constitution is very categorical in making the armed forces subordinate to civilian authority, patriotic, professional and non-partisan.
More importantly, the same section of the Constitution calls upon the armed forces to respect the rights and freedoms of all persons moreso the right of association. The selective reading of the Constitution of Zimbabwe by Cde Chiwenga whilst ignoring this important part cannot go unchallenged as we all know Section 208(2) which makes the interference of the armed forces in civilian matters illegal. Section 218 of the same Constitution again forbids the army and security forces and confines them to the barracks where they belong during times of peace.
We are, therefore, taking a stand against those who are bent on sowing division among our people and also those taking advantage of the privilege of their appointment by our President to extort guarantees and immunity for fugitives, border jumpers from the same appointing authority. These people should be warned that we the youth are watching in our millions and those who wish to ride on the back of the tiger will end up inside.
As a revolutionary party, Zanu-PF is evolving and placing itself at the forefront of the constitutional dispensation we fought the oppressor for and obtained. Creative destruction and change of guard in certain areas has always been the nature of the beast, Cde Chiwenga, alluded to several rebellions which were quashed, but forgot to mention that the majority were caused, motivated and driven by egotistical military individuals who thought the revolutionary sun rose and sat on their backs. The principle which established Zanu-PF is very clear, the guns will follow the politics and not the politics following the guns. Cde Chiwenga, therefore, cannot be allowed to dictate who will lead the party and the country.
As the youth we are in our millions and at present the majority in the country. It is our country and future at stake and we will not let any individual military man interfere with the leader of the party and legitimately voted President of this country Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
All those in security sector fatigues who wish to engage in politics are free to throw their hats in the ring and not hide behind the barrel of a gun. We also wish to remind them that conniving and conspiring to overthrow a constitutionally elected government is a crime in this country and anywhere in the world. The African Union and sadc position on this issue is very clear and we as the youth will stand guard in defence of the revolution like the people of Turkey last year who repelled rouge security forces from interfering with an elected government.
Freedom of expression is a right enshrined in the Constitution and criticising public organs like the security sector and the Government are the life blood of any democracy. The security sector like any other individual or organ of the State will not be immune to criticism including you Cde Chiwenga as you are a servant appointed (not elected) to serve the people. We also
note with concern that the renewal of the party and strengthening of its organs by replacing deadwood, traitors, looters and common criminals is being taken as an attack on war veterans. There are thousands of war veterans keeping a fortified guard with the youth and save for shallow and empty characters like Mutsvangwa, Matemadanda, Mahiya and a few lumpen elements, the war veterans are behind the party.
These rebel elements who shy away from all democratic processes and have never won or competed in any democratic sphere and understand the language of imposition as they were imposed by Cde Chiwenga and Cde Mnangagwa to serve their interest. These characters whose shady appointment at a shadowy Masvingo conference funded by a businessman whom we shall not name at the moment are the ones acting as foot soldiers for Cde Chiwenga and the Lacoste faction to advance the successionist agenda of the fugitive Dambudzo Mnangagwa.
Cde Chiwenga lampoons the party and Government for poor economic indicators whilst conveniently forgetting the effects of sanctions, recession and ignores the valiant efforts by the Government to mitigate suffering through programmes like Command Agriculture which he has been extolling at every point and place. He also conveniently forgets to mention the sterling efforts of the Government in the price stabilisation of basic commodities.
As Commander of the Defence Forces Cd Chiwenga, we await a full report on the whereabouts of the missing 15 billion dollars as the army never accounted for the revenue after extraction. This money would go a long way in alleviating the obtaining hardships the soldiers are facing and improve their welfare and morale. Cde Chiwenga cannot have his cake and eat it too.
He also cannot benefit from his own mischief and misdeeds in that together with the former Minister of Defence now fugitive Cde Dambudzo Mnangagwa, they dismally failed in the stewardship of revenue streams that flowed from diamond concessions allocated to the Defence Forces whose sole purpose was cushioning the Defence Forces from economic hardships. A day will come when those responsible will have to account to the people.
This is part of the statement delivered by the Zanu-PF Youth League Executive yesterday. We noticed that Comrade Chiwenga is prescribing the way the party should handle its affairs and electoral processes. With all due respect this is overstepping his boundaries and mandate. Zimbabwe is in a time of peace not war, therefore martial law prescriptions have no room and will not be tolerated in the Revolutionary Party.
Cde Chiwenga seems to be operating under a misapprehension that the appointment of Cde Dambudzo Mnangagwa as Deputy President was an anointing of him as successor to the President. He should be reminded of several leaders of the party like Ndabaningi Sithole, Edgar Tekere, Runaida Mujuru and others who fell by the wayside and yet the party become stronger. It is very curious that when Runaida Mujuru fell to the party’s democratic process, there was a deafening silence by the same forces who now cry wolf. The war of liberation should not be privatised as the povo also suffered the brunt of the war. The teachings of Mao Tse Tung taught that the people were the water and the comrades the fish and the two complemented each other.
We therefore view dimly all those who minimise the role of the people as they were important stakeholders and stockholders of the revolution. The election of the civilian leaders to lofty positions in the party is recognising this fact and is not a reversal of the revolutionary creed. None has a monopoly to the war of liberation. The learned Comrade Chiwenga who has recently acquired his PhD degree should easily understand this elementary fact.
The creative destruction in Zanu-PF is democracy at play. Cde Mnangagwa was voted out by a unanimous vote of all provinces and organs. We, on this day, choose to stand by the will of the people like General Josiah Tongogara, Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo, Nikita Mangena, and Vitalis Zvinavashe. Those who want to stand in front of the freedom train will go the way of Nyathi of Nyadzonya, Hamadziripi and Ndabaningi Sithole.
We are watching you and toyeuchidzana that you were very instrumental in the creation of one centre of power in the party only because then it was benefiting your surrogate and fugitive Dambudzo Mnangagwa. Now that the shoe is on the other foot you now throw tantrums. Consistency and conforming to principles you set for others is what maketh a revolutionary Comrade Chiwenga. Zimbabwe is a democracy and Zanu-PF has been entrusted as the custodian of the liberation and revolutionary flame.
There is one leader of the Country who is the very man who legitimately and consistently has been voted into office by the majority of the people. That Leader, Comrade Chiwenga, is the only elected leader of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, The President, Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of The Zimbabwe Defence Forces Cde R.G. Mugabe.
In conclusion, we the youth of Zimbabwe constitute the majority of the population in our millions and it is our future which is at stake. Freedom is a non-negotiable birthright bestowed upon us by the revolution. It is a tree that was watered by the blood of thousands of liberation war heroes and common people most of whom lie in mass graves. This liberation and fundamental rights which came at such a steep price cannot be the personal property of one rogue element in the security sector with power to give it and take it at will.
No single person has the power to impose his minions to leadership positions. This is an assault on our freedom as we now have a new Constitution which places solders in barracks and civilian authority in power. The army needs to take a leaf from their counterparts in the Police, Prisons and Correctional Services and Central Intelligence Organisations who were not part of yesterday’s circus.
We, therefore, call upon all the youth of Zimbabwe regardless of their political affiliation, race, gender or creed to stand up and be counted when the time comes.
This is the statement that was delivered by the Zanu-PF Youth League Executive yesterday