Sydney Kawadza Senior Reporter
Politics in Zimbabwe will always guide the gun, but the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) will not hesitate to intervene when they feel the country’s security is being compromised, ZDF Commander General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga has said.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday ahead of today’s Defence Forces Day celebrations, Gen Chiwenga said the military would not tolerate anyone who undermined Zimbabwe’s peace and tranquillity. He also warned would be saboteurs that they would face the full wrath of the army.
“This country, of all countries which fought the wars of liberation, Zimbabwe bore the brunt,” said Gen Chiwenga. “When we look at the mass graves, who would you want to please when you are not proud of your own country?
“Do you think there is going to be another Zimbabwe besides this one? This Zimbabwe will be protected by our own blood.” Politics, Gen Chiwenga said, would always lead the gun, as what was taught during and after the liberation struggle.
“In our training, when we were out there, from the time when we were juveniles, what people would call boy-soldiers, that is what we were taught,” he said. “And that is what we had to teach everyone.
“Remember, before anyone would be given a gun or would be taken to the range, you had to qualify, you had to pass what we called political orientation to understand why one has to train and why he has to hold a gun and the purpose of that gun.”
Gen Chiwenga said some failed the test and were never given the gun. “Before anyone can talk about that, it is clear to every man, woman and officer, whether we were in the liberation struggle, now in the free and independent Zimbabwe, know that the politics leads the gun,” he said. “Not the other way!”
Gen Chiwenga said it was the military’s subservience to politics that made Zimbabwe peaceful since independence in 1980. “The relations (with politicians) are very good,” he said. “We are very clear where we think things or a person is not saying the correct thing, we will tell (them).
“Because it is our role to make sure that nobody causes conflict and confusion, which can then confuse people and make people fail to understand what is going on. Peace, stability and tranquillity is the key.”
Gen Chiwenga said although Zimbabwe is a democratic country, there were limitations to what people should do or say. “If people are discussing, this is a democratic country,” he said. “They will say whatever they want to say, they can talk, but there is a red line which can never be crossed.
“When one causes the country to be in turmoil, then you become an enemy of the State and an enemy of the people and we will tell you, no, you are overstepping, that is not the correct way.”
Gen Chiwenga warned people against abusing the social media, which could lead to mayhem. “We are not in that time when everyone would scrounge for a newspaper or for stale news, things are instant,” he said. “Even as things happen, the newsman is there, the television is there, they are embedded.
“We now see what is happening from afar. We have seen what is happening in the Middle East. Who is going to reconstruct these countries in the Middle East? You have seen shells blowing buildings, skyscrapers being brought down, women and children being killed, for what?
“That is what we will never want to see happen in Zimbabwe. No one can reverse the history of the country. It is our history for generations upon generations to come,” he added.
“And all what we want is posterity for future generations. Long when we are gone, we want to see a stable and economically prosperous Zimbabwe.”
Gen Chiwenga said Zimbabwe should be peaceful in honour of thousands of people, who lost their lives during the liberation struggle.