The leader of Zimbabwe’s largest opposition party, the MDC Alliance (MDC-A), has slammed the ruling ZANU PF for treating the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) as an extension of the party in violation of the national constitution.
MDC-A president Nelson Chamisa’s remarks came after the ZANU PF acting national political commissar, Patrick Chinamasa told journalists that the party would continue to work with the military because they were inseparable.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with NewZimbabwe.com on Sunday, Chamisa reminded the ruling party that the military exists to serve national and not parochial interests. He said:
The military is not an extension of a political party the world over. It is condescending, patronising and unconstitutional to claim the sole and partisan proprietorship of national institutions like the military, police or the intelligence services.
Political parties and leaders come and go but national institutions like the army stay forever. As such, the military is not an arm, organ or wing of any political party whether that political party is in or out of government.
The national army is a people’s army. Citizens have a duty to correct delinquent characters whose misconceived and misbegotten view seeks to reduce a people’s military into a militia of a political party.
Chamisa claimed Chinamasa’s utterances are not only a source of national instability and threat to national security but also make Zimbabwe a banana republic.
The military has on several occasions intervened when the ruling party’s grip on power is threatened, resulting in deadly incidents of political violence during elections.
In 2008, the military was reportedly involved in politically motivated violence targeting opposition supporters, thereby forcing then MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of the presidential election runoff.
On 1 August 2018, soldiers opened fired randomly and killed 6 civilians in central Harare when MDC Alliance supporters staged a demonstration, demanding the release of presidential election results.