ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa has challenged opposition parties to block “the continued militarisation” of the ruling Zanu PF party.
The liberation war veteran and former Zipra intelligence chief Dabengwa warned that a Zanu PF victory in this month’s elections under military leadership would have dire consequences for the country.
Addressing party candidates during the recent launch Zapu’s campaign, Dabengwa said following last November’s coup, Zanu PF is headed towards an overt militarisation instead of genuine democracy and urged voters to ditch in on 30 July.
“There is not enough urgency among the opposition parties to focus on the trend of militarisation of Zanu PF and what their win would mean in terms of top military commanders being turned into political leaders and blurring the divide between a professional army and partisan politicians.
“That is a classic fusion of army and political party hegemony that has to be opposed right now before it becomes more established,” said the former Home Affairs minister.
He bemoaned the fragmentation of the opposition saying if political parties were united they would have enhanced their collective capacity to block the military from taking over the running of the country.
“In spite of this new reality, the opposition has been reluctant to make the necessary sacrifice and adjustment due to ambitions of individual party leaders or clusters of leaders.
“We clearly needed a grand opposition alliance, but this has eluded us. Right up to a few weeks ago when I tried to be an honest broker with external facilitation by non-politicians.”
The Zapu president said he delayed registering as a presidential candidate because he was trying to negotiate with other parties to form a grand coalition.
“Right at the last minute when I was ready to go ahead as the Zapu presidential candidate, one of the initiatives that we had given up was resuscitated through some intermediaries.
“This is the memorandum of a political cooperation agreement signed with Nelson Chamisa in his capacity as the leader of the MDC Alliance and as the leader of his own party.
“This agreement committed ZAPU and the MDC Alliance to the promotion of practical cooperation in the 2018 elections and their aftermath to promote democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe.”
Dabengwa also warned his party’s parliamentary and council candidates to be vigilant during the voting and counting processes.
He said while the introduction of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) may remove some of the primitive methods that were allegedly used to manipulate and rig elections, some checks and balances were still needed.
“We must therefore be on the lookout for manipulation of the system at various stages and phases of the elections. Vigilance must be a watchword when voting and counting take place.
“Our election mangers and election agents must be properly prepared for their assignments. The ballot boxes must be closely watched and literally guarded,” he added.