Special advisor to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Christopher Mutsvangwa, has said the people not the army will decide Zimbabwe’s election winner in the looming 2018 poll.
This comes amid concerns that the military — which paved way for Mnangagwa to succeed long-ruling Robert Mugabe after staging a soft coup under its ‘‘Operation Restore Legacy’’ last November — will not accept Mnangagwa’s defeat in the election.
Mutsvangwa was responding to questions during an elections debate with opposition parties in Harare on Thursday.
MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora complained about the militarisation of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
“…we will not take over government power in this country as a result of the benevolence of the military, we are very clear that we want to take the governmental power through peaceful and constitutional means,” he said.
“One of the outstanding issues is the militarisation of Zec….18 percent of the workers at Zec have military background, they are not there by mistake because earlier on the military bosses said they will not support a candidate without liberation war credentials,” Mwonzora complained.
“Our enemy is not Zanu PF but our enemy is poverty, misery, corruption that is what we want to fix,” he added.
National Patriotic Front (NPF) spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire shared Mwonzora’s sentiment on the army, as he blasted Zanu PF accusing it of deploying the army to intimidate the people.
“We cannot promise free and fair elections with Zanu PF deploying the army. Unless we confront that, we are not going to have free and fair elections.”
In response, Mutsvangwa said if people hate the army they can go to war.
“It looks like we are the only game in town, …If you want to have an issue with the military of Zimbabwe and you hate it so much I have got one dictum; we had a military that we hated as young people of Zimbabwe which was called the Rhodesian army. We decided that we did not want it, but we could not deal with that army on the soil of Zimbabwe, we had to go into exile, as young people we knew Romania, Cuba, Yugoslavia and China. So, if you have a problem with the Zimbabwe State and you want to bring it into electoral play that’s your problem.”