Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Not Safe From Military Coup, Warns Zunde's Mbira

Photo: The Herald
President Emmerson Mnangagwa chats with Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Philip Valerio Sibanda.
28 December 2017

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa faces the threat of a military coup unless the military is disinfected of its political partisanship, the opposition Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE) has said.

In a Christmas and New Year's message ZUNDE leader Farai Mbira said Mnangagwa and his side-kick former Commander Defence Forces and now Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga had used Zimbabweans "to prop themselves up".

"We, however, will celebrate it cautiously because we are yet to be assured of peace, freedom and meaningful democratic change. We are not sure yet that next year elections will be free and fair.

"It's sad that Zanu PF declared that it will not reform itself out of power and that they will not relinquish power because of mere X (vote). In both cases we hear them loud and clear. It's no rocket science to conclude that only he who can play rugby politics will dismantle the still intact Zanu PF dictatorship,' Mbira said.

Mbira said unless service chiefs "give a public pledge and assurance never to interfere in politics, the generality of politicians from both sides will perpetually live in fear".

"There will never be freedom in this country for as long as that fear or risk remains. Even President Mnangagwa is no longer safe in his office for as long as this fear persists. Anytime, Operation Restore Legacy may crank into motion," Mbira said.

Mnangagwa has pronounced elections will go ahead next year as scheduled declaring his intention is to run a free, fair and credible poll. However the appointment of military personnel into key government and Zanu PF positions has sent shivers down the spines of citizens amid fears of a bloody election run-in.

Mbirai said Chiwenga and his cohorts' so called Operation Restore Legacy used to force Mugabe to resign had benefited a few.

"First, they (army) did not restore anything not even a legacy, they propped themselves up and forced their own legacy on Zimbabwe. It was abusive of the masses to march them onto the streets to remove an evil person and his criminals from office only to declare a holiday in honour of the same evil person. "How can we tell our children we removed Mugabe from office and then ask them to celebrate him?," Mbira asked rhetorically.

"How can we expect the people of Matebeleland, Midlands and Murambatsvina victims to celebrate Mugabe? This is an insult. How can the millions of Zimbabwean victims scattered in the diaspora be asked to celebrate Mugabe every year!"

Mnangagwa has retained Mugabe's pronouncement of 21st February as a public holiday in honour of the former Zanu PF leader while the country's prime international airport in Harare named after the 93 year-old former Zimbabwean leader has also retained the new name.

Mbira said in the aftermath of Mnangagwa's announcement of Mugabe's retirement perks, Zimbabweans have no obligation to honour such an agreement in the future.

"We have issues with Mugabe and the constitution provides remedial procedures that we have a right to pursue. We have many people who have disappeared and Mugabe needs to tell us where they are; dead or alive. We will forgive him but he must let us know," said Mbira.

Mbira raised issues around Mnangagwa and Chiwenga's legitimacy to hold public office as the two most powerful people in Zimbabwe challenging the two to a public contest.

"General Chiwenga can join and contest for political positions in any of the political parties, including ZUNDE, or openly compete in the general elections in 2018 for public office. Constitutionally he could not have been a member of Zanu PF. For him to hold positions in Zanu PF he must be seen to be following the basic membership and promotion laws of the Zanu PF constitution.

"We understand that some positions will require him to having been a card carrying member of the party for a minimum number of years. However, how Zanu PF will do it it's up to them!" said Mbira.

Mnangagwa, Mbira argued, must apologise for Mugabe's post-independence atrocities as well as publicly denounce former Commander Defence Forces General Vitalis Zvinavashe's "straight jacket" statement on the eve of the 2002 presidential elections in which the military top brass declared they would never salute "anyone without liberation war credentials".

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