GPA flouted with reckless abandon

July 20, 2012 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

One of the key covenants of the September 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) was the guarantee of free political activity in the country.
The covenant has and is still being flouted with reckless abandon, mainly not by the political gladiators, but by State security organs, the police, the army and members of the Central Intelligence Organisation, whose constitutional mandate is to maintain peace, national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Article X of the GPA reads: “Recognising that the right to canvass and freely mobilise for political support is the cornerstone of any multi-party democratic system, the parties (Zanu PF and the two MDC formations) have agreed that there should be free political activity throughout Zimbabwe within the ambit of the law in which all political parties are able to propagate their views and canvass for support, free of harassment and intimidation.”

The GPA is also unambiguous on what is expected of State organs such as security agencies. The parties agreed that the State organs and institutions should “strictly observe the principles of the rule of law and remain non-partisan and impartial” and that “laws and regulations governing State organs and institutions are strictly adhered to and those violating them be penalised without fear or favour”.

It is against this backcloth that we question the sincerity of President Robert Mugabe in fully consummating the GPA and other outstanding issues, especially to do with security sector reforms.

Reports that soldiers at the weekend attempted to disrupt MDC-T rallies in Mashonaland West and East are ample evidence that Mugabe and his Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa have failed to rein in rogue elements in the army.

The MDC-T claimed that in Darwendale, Mashonaland West, soldiers on Saturday ran amok, tearing down tents, and threatening party officials who were preparing for a rally, before Zanu PF thugs burnt grass around the area in a clear sign of intimidation.

The previous day, the MDC-T claimed, soldiers from the nearby Jock Camp went around the villages telling people not to attend the MDC-T rally scheduled for Saturday at Masvimbo business centre in Mutoko, Mashonaland East.

This is a flagrant violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Defence Act and the GPA. Soldiers anywhere in a democracy are not and should never be allowed to be political players and we find Mugabe and Mnangagwa’s silence on this issues with negative implication on our political dispensation very worrying.

We are concerned that service chiefs in this country have for years been parroting Mugabe and Zanu PF’s mantras without being censured.

The securocrats have become a danger to our constitutional order and should be stopped dead in their tracks now.

Soldiers should be confined to the barracks and remain apolitical. In times of relative peace, like we are experiencing, they should sharpen their fighting skills, not intimidate citizens.

If Mugabe is sincere on the implementation of the GPA and bears true allegiance to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, he should speak out against the rogue soldiers and order that they be court-martialled.

He should unequivocally tell them he can only secure presidential supremacy through free and fair elections.

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