Tsvangirai ‘ wrong’ on Mugabe’s security sector power base

April 23, 2013 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

By Nomalanga Moyo

Analysts have said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai may have spoken prematurely
when he suggested that the army has no power to ‘save’ President Robert
Mugabe.

Speaking at a peace rally held in Chinhoyi over the weekend Tsvangirai
advised Mugabe not to put too much trust on “mere mortals” but rather to
count on divine strength.

The rally was organised by different churches to prepare the nation for
peaceful, free and fair elections, expected later this year.

According to the NewsDay newspaper, Tsvangirai told the gathering: “What I
am emphasising to my fellow comrade (Mugabe) is that it is folly to bank on
the might of fellow human beings, the armed forces. That is not the power
base you should be bragging about and banking on. Count on the strength and
might of the Lord, our God.”

While the utterances were a caution to Mugabe whose 33-year rule has largely
been propped up by security chiefs, some people think the PM’s statements
could be misleading, considering what has happened in the past.

Baster Magwizi, chairman of the freedom fighters ZIPRA Veterans Trust said
Tsvangirai’s statements can be misinterpreted and used against him.

He said: “Tsvangirai is making too many mistakes by issuing arbitrary
statements. The army generals have given strength to the current regime. It
is wrong to say, ‘They are mere mortals’.”

Magwizi said it is surprising that Tsvangirai thinks the generals will alter
their loyalty to Mugabe.

“I think he needs to be coached on the necessity and significance of
security sector reform. He should also demand security sector reform,”
Magwizi stated.
Political commentator Wilfred Mhanda told SW Radio Africa’s Lionel Saungweme
that rather than leaving Mugabe’s fate to God, the MDC-T leader should be
insisting on security sector reforms.

Mhanda said the PM’s statement won’t change anything because Mugabe actually
depends on the generals, who have openly stated that their allegiance lies
with Mugabe, and are on record as saying they will not salute the MDC
leader, even if he wins the presidential race.

Outspoken political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said it is premature for
Tsvangirai to see any change in the way the army operates, and said that as
long as the reforms that were agreed to as part of the GPA were not
implemented, Zimbabweans will need to do their bit rather than leave
everything to God.

“To use high moral ground and spiritualism does not really work with ZANU
PF. As long as Mugabe is alive and as long as there is that umbilical cord
link between the regime and the military sector, we can pray all we want but
the generals can just wake up and say ‘you aren’t taking over’ to whoever
wins the next election.

“Tsvangirai should be underlining the need for reforms and for a return to
the supremacy of the law and the constitution,” Ngwenya said.

During the event the PM had also emphasised the peace call by President
Mugabe during Independence Day celebrations, saying: “Peace has never been
given so much attention in this country before. These are words that build
the nation. Violence is a culture, a value system which is strengthened by
impunity.”

However, Saungweme said it is surprising that Tsvangirai was taking Mugabe’s
call seriously, given that over the years the ZANU PF leader has clearly
demonstrated his love for violence, even declaring that “ZANU PF has degrees
in violence. He clearly never spoke about a degree in peace.”

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