A number of opposition parties in Zimbabwe have hailed the late former President Robert Mugabe for keeping the army in the barracks.
Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa was contrasting Mugabe’s administration with the incumbent government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa which he said is a full-blown military rule.
Maphosa made the remarks on Sunday in a statement to commemorate Robert Mugabe National Youth Day. Maphosa said:
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The Mugabe regime, despite its glaring inadequacies, had a semblance of civilian rule while the current regime is a fully blown military rule.
As Zapu, we want to state once again that soldiers should confine themselves to the barracks while civilians should be allowed to democratically choose their leaders.
The same sentiments were shared by MDC Alliance Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza who credited Mugabe for resisting military involvement in civilian affairs. Chirowodza said:
Mugabe was a late convert to the fact that politics should lead the gun. For many years Mugabe disagreed with the securocrats on avoiding the deployment of the army in internal party politics and other civilian matters.
The current regime under (President) Mnangagwa has proved that it uses the military as a sjambok in its drawer. That is bad for a people who yearn for freedom.
Meanwhile, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Zimbabwe’s founding president Innocent Ndibali hailed Mugabe for the land reform adding that the expropriation of land without compensation can never be reversed. Ndibali said:
Like him, we are sons and daughters of the soil. We are the soil and the soil is us the economic freedom fighters.
The Patriotic Front (TPF) said despite achieving some “few” positives, Mugabe’s 37-year-old rule left a divided nation along racial, tribal and political lines. Said the party:
He left a nation of political enemies instead of ideological opponents, a nation whose political activities and literature are laden with blame, insults, violence and a nation of dependents instead of independents.
The party urged Zimbabweans to build on Mugabe’s positives and champion nation-building.
Some observers admit that military presence in streets was low before 2017 but refute the claims that Mugabe kept soldiers at the barracks.
They cite the 2008 chaotic run-off election as one of the incidents that prove that Mugabe used soldiers to push a political agenda.