SW Radio Africa (London)

6 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Ex-Zipra Vets Warn Military Leaders to Respect Will of People

Photo: Zimbabwe Independent
Supporters of President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Senior commanders from ZAPU's former military wing, ZIPRA, have said the military should respect the outcome of next year's election results.

For the first time in many years, the ex-ZIPRA members convened a meeting in Bulawayo and unanimously agreed to issue a statement urging the security forces to respect the one-man, one-vote principle.

The statement was published in the country's newspapers on Wednesday and will pour cold water over repeated threats by ZANU PF linked army generals, who have vowed not to allow a candidate without liberation war credentials to succeed Robert Mugabe.

The former commanders said Zimbabweans and former freedom fighters are perturbed about pronouncements reported by the media, regarding the choice of the country's future leaders.

'The generally expressed view has been that ex-combatants shall recognise only those leaders who have liberation war credentials. The position of the former ZIPRA High Command is that we will support the person who respects the ideals and values of the liberation struggle.

'We will support anyone who recognises that the effort to liberate the country was premised on the concept of one-man, one-vote, to be a democratic principle which respects the will of the people will carry the support of former freedom fighters,' the ex-ZIPRA commanders said.

Top military commanders like Brigadier-Generals Trust Mugoba, Douglas Nyikayaramba and Martin Chedondo, have issued countless threats since 2002 that no party other than ZANU PF would be allowed to rule Zimbabwe.

Our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme said the ZIPRA statement was a major boost to all democratic forces in the country. He said the stance by the ex-commanders would reverberate far and wide beyond the Zimbabwe borders.

'I think it's a statement of intent that they would not sit and watch the military suppressing the will of the people. ZAPU, as a former liberation war movement, has many friends in Southern Africa who would be keen to follow the events unfolding in Zimbabwe,' Saungweme said.

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