Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government yesterday warned campaigning political candidates against dragging members of the security establishment into their partisan politics and activities.
This comes after the private media quoted Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister Terrence Mukupe — a Zanu-PF National Assembly candidate for Harare East — as having said the military would not allow opposition politicians to rule the country if they win the forthcoming harmonised elections.
Acting Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Simon Khaya Moyo said if true, Mr Mukupe’s statements were “unlawful and reckless”.
He said the alleged remarks “flagrantly” ran against President Mnangagwa’s pledge of upholding the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
Addressing a Zanu-PF cell meeting in Mandara, Harare on Monday, Mr Mukupe was quoted as saying: “How can we say, honestly, the soldiers took the country, practically snatched it from Mugabe, to come and hand it over to Chamisa? Look at me, I also want to be a President, there is no one who does not want to sit in the (Mercedes) Benz while sirens are sounding all the way, but everything has its time. I don’t think that I am mature enough to be given the country to run and all the soldiers in this country salute me saying the commander-in-chief is here.”
Minister Khaya Moyo said the statements did not represent the official position and attitude of Zanu-PF, Government and the Defence Establishment.
“Apart from being unconstitutional and therefore against the laws of the land, the reported claims amount to direct contempt of His Excellency the President, Cde E.D Mnangagwa, who is the sole Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF). Hardly a month ago, His Excellency the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the ZDF warned against undermining the constitutional position of the security establishment through involving or dragging members of the uniformed forces into the country’s party electoral politics and/or activities.
“Through this directive, he unambiguously restated an ironclad rule which ranks high among the pillars of our Constitution and which finds validation in the various Acts governing operations of various arms of the national security establishment.”
He added: “Consequently any pronouncements which have the effect of undermining the supreme law of the land and the authority of the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Force, or of suggesting that our well-respected security organs will act in partisan manner in relation to the country’s politics, apart from being unauthorised, are unlawful, reckless, improper, uncalled for and thus totally condemnable.”
Minister Moyo said the alleged statements by Mukupe imperilled national peace and stability and were a “frontal” challenge to the tenets and practices of democracy as understood and practiced worldwide.
“Read against our own environment and the impending polls, such pronouncements have the negative effect of raising doubts on Government’s commitment to a free, fair and non-violent plebiscite, as well as to its readiness to respect and uphold the will of the people of Zimbabwe as expressed through their electoral choices and decisions,” he said.
“This is untrue and flagrantly runs against what His Excellency the President, Cde E.D Mnangagwa, has pledged and is determined to deliver both to the people of Zimbabwe and the international community. Without regard to political party or affiliation, all campaigning candidates should respect the Defence Establishment and its Command Structure by avoiding embroiling our uniformed forces into partisan party politics and activities. The roles of the uniformed forces which are national and non-partisan, are clearly spelt out in the laws of the country.”