Tsvangirai blasts Junta for violating people’s rights
By Tichaona Sibanda
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has continued with his blistering attack on
the country’s securocrats, describing them as ‘a small, parasitic clique’ at
the helm of institutions violating people’s human rights in Zimbabwe.
“The challenge in Zimbabwe is that even after forming the inclusive
government, some state organs and state institutions have failed to respect
the new dispensation,” the Prime Minister said on Wednesday.
He added: “A small clique of top officials in the police, the army and the
intelligence services have vowed that they support Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF
and will not allow anyone else to govern the country, even if that person
wins an election.”
Speaking in Barcelona, Spain at the World Justice Forum, the MDC-T leader
moved to exonerate the rank and file of the country’s armed forces for the
crackdown on innocent Zimbabweans. He instead apportioned the blame on the
brutal atrocities committed mainly against his supporters on the military
Members of the army, police, militia, war vets and the CIO have been
implicated in regular acts of intimidation and violence against ordinary
citizens since the formation of the inclusive government in 2009. All these
institutions are led by a tight circle of securocrats, who sit on the Joint
Operations Command (JOC), now believed to be exercising executive power in
These powerful junta figures include General Constantine Chiwenga, the
overall military chief; Augustine Chihuri, the police commissioner-general,
General Paradzai Zimondi, the commander of the prison service, Air Marshal
Perence Shiri, the commander of the Air Force and Happyton Bonyongwe, the
All five fought in the ZANLA army during the war against white rule in the
1970s. Each has publicly proclaimed their support for the ruling ZANU PF
party. They have also benefited from Mugabe’s controversial seizure of
white-owned land, with farms and business concessions falling into their
hands, allowing them to amass considerable wealth.
“In our case (Zimbabwe), the problem has never been the ordinary soldier or
the ordinary police officer. It has always been a small, parasitic clique at
the helm of these institutions that is at the forefront of systemic
violation of the people’s fundamental rights and freedoms,” Tsvangirai said.
He castigated the Junta for being overtly partisan and seeking to undermine
the civilian authority, adding that everyday they are dabbling in politics,
even seeking to influence the date of the next election.
“When the Police Commissioner-General and the Attorney-General state
publicly that they support a particular political party in an inclusive
government, as in our case, the rule of law becomes perverted and people
lose confidence in the institutions they lead,” said Tsvangirai.
On Sunday at an MDC rally in Mkoba, Gweru, Tsvangirai challenged the
security chiefs to leave the military and join the political ring if they so
much wanted to be politicians.
“Some say we don’t support Tsvangirai and we will not support him. But let’s
wait and see what happens after the elections. Why can’t we cross the bridge
when we get to it?” he said.
The Prime Minister added: “If you want politics, remove the uniform and we
will show you what politics is. It is not guns. Stop intimidating people,
convince Zimbabweans to vote for you.”
MDC chairman for Hertfordshire branch in the UK and retired army colonel,
Bernard Matongo told SW Radio Africa that the Prime Minister has every right
to remind the Junta to serve all Zimbabweans and not one political party.
“Soldiers swear their allegiance to the state and every soldier must be told
upfront and recognise that he or she must follow unquestioningly the orders
of the civilian government of Zimbabwe and the laws that it enacts,” Matongo
He added: “If they cannot, then they must be designated as rogue elements
who are not allowed to serve.”