Zimbabwe’s army in the spotlight: Fear and uncertainty surround elections

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Opposition parties and analysts strongly criticized the ruling elite’s attempts to politicize Zimbabwe’s military, with the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) vowing to reform the army once they come into power.

The CCC spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, issued a statement on the occasion of Defence Forces Day, acknowledging the important role of the military but urging them to adhere to their constitutional mandate.

Mahere expressed concern over the historical involvement of the army in partisan politics, particularly their support for the ruling Zanu PF party during elections. Instances were cited, such as the veiled coup threats made by General Vitalis Zvinavashe and other army commanders in 2002, and the ruling party’s claims of having armed forces and war veterans on their side during the previous year’s elections.

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The CCC emphasized that under their governance, the military would never be deployed for partisan interests or to suppress peaceful demonstrations, ensuring that the professional standing of the defense forces remains intact.

Various opposition party representatives also voiced their opinions on the matter. Zapu spokesperson Mso Ndlovu stressed the importance of the army remaining apolitical, protecting the country and its people without favoring any particular political group. Nhlanhla Ncube, secretary-general of the Freedom Alliance, condemned the military’s involvement in partisan politics as unconstitutional and detrimental to democracy, highlighting the military’s role in the installation of the current government through the November 2017 coup. Mqondisi Moyo, leader of the Mthwakazi Republic Party, expressed concerns that the military might be deployed against citizens in case of a disputed election outcome.

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Overall, the opposition parties and analysts called for the depoliticization of the military, emphasizing the need for the armed forces to serve the country and its people impartially, safeguarding democracy and constitutionalism.


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