Gloves are off as Junta and Tsvangirai engage in verbal spat
By Tichaona Sibanda
The war of words between the Junta and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has continued, with the Herald reporting Thursday on Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba’s astonishingly tirade against the MDC President.
Nyikayaramba has dismissed Tsvangirai as a ‘political threat,’ but labelled him a ‘security threat’ for allegedly taking instructions from westerners that endanger the security of the country.
But the MDC-T completely refuted these allegations, saying the military chiefs are the ones who pose a great security risk to Zimbabwe, as they have done for the whole of the past decade.
In an interview with the state controlled Herald, the 3 Brigade Commander, in remarks that will certainly raise eyebrows in the SADC bloc, said the military will do anything to keep the ageing Robert Mugabe in power.
The general’s outburst was in response to the Prime Minister’s challenge to the security forces on Sunday to stay out of politics and to stop intimidating the population. Tsvangirai told his supporters in Mkoba, Gweru that military chiefs must remove their uniforms if they wanted to challenge him politically.
But the Brigadier-General, reiterating his earlier stance that he would not serve under the leadership of anyone who did not have liberation war credentials, said the military will die for Mugabe to make sure he remains in power.
Describing the Prime Minister as a ‘daydreamer’ who wants to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle, Nyikayaramba said Tsvangirai must ‘go to hell’ as he will never rule Zimbabwe.
This verbal attack on Tsvangirai by a senior general in the army raises questions about the security of the MDC-T leader who has been a target of several assassination attempts before. Party officials have often worried about his safety in private, but not in public.
Rallying behind their leader, the MDC-T said the ‘war of words’ against Tsvangirai reflected the thinking of those behind Nyikayaramba.
Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said it is clear the general is a very bitter man and that the MDC-T takes what he has said very seriously.
‘We are not so sure why he is so bitter. But what he says is clearly unacceptable. He said the Prime Minister is a security threat.
‘Prime Minister Tsvangirai is definitely not a security threat. He is the person who won the presidency of this country on the 29th March 2008,’ Mwonzora said.
He added; ‘He did not have to beat anyone; he did not have to kill anyone; he did not have to set up militia bases and he did not abuse the army and police for him to win that election. He is a legitimate leader of a legitimate and lawful party.’
The deputy Justice Minister from the MDC-T, Obert Gutu, agreed with Mwonzora that the attack on their leader is the clearest public admission to date that the civilian authority in Zimbabwe has been handed over to the will of men and women in military fatigues.
‘If we are not careful, another Myanmar (Burma) or Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge) is on the horizon. We should be worried; very worried. Like I have always argued, the end game for the Mugabe regime will be bloody. These guys are going for broke. In fact, Nyikayaramba is speaking for Mugabe,’ Gutu said.
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