12 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Coup Comments Cause Row in Coalition Govt

Photo: DanieVDM
Military artillery: A Denel G6-45 155 mm howitzer.

Cape Town — Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said it will engage the international community about comments made by Zanu-PF Politburo member and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to a BBC reporter.

In October, Chinamasa told Andrew Harding of the BBC that the military would not accept an MDC-T victory in the coming elections.

Last week, at a meeting held in Cape Town by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an umbrella grouping of civil society organisations, and the University of the Western Cape, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party (MDC-T) said they would take the matter to the African Union and the United Nations if necessary.

Douglas Mwonzora, who is also a co-chairperson of the country's constitution-making process, described the comments as a threat "to subvert the will of the people of Zimbabwe" in their quest to elect their leaders democratically.

"We are going to fight in the international arena, we are also going to fight it politically and legally," Mwonzora said.

Qhubani Moyo, director of Policy and Research in the rival MDC-N party, led by Welshman Ncube, also blasted Chinamasa's comments.

"Chinamasa's pronouncements are clearly a sign of the panic that is there within the Zanu-PF," Moyo told the meeting.

Previously, members of Zimbabwe's security sector have issued similar statements saying that they will not salute Prime Minister Tsvangirai if he wins presidential elections because he has no liberation war credentials.

However, Mwonzora said that the country's draft constitution covers the conduct of members of the army, the police and correctional services, who are expected to be non-partisan and professional.

Zanu-PF's Constitution Select Committee co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana was also expected to address the Cape Town meeting, but he did not attend.

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