While the they are vociferously calling for our security structures to be neutered, their political and governance structures are replete with military and intelligence people who hold influential positions.
It is interesting to note that the USA, the voice behind Tsvangirai and other like-minded organisations, has a rich history of leaders who literally walked from their barracks to assume the presidency of this powerful country. George Washington, who is the first president of America, was a General of the Army with experiences from the American Revolutionary war and the French and Indian wars from 1754 until 1764.
Information at hand also indicates that of all the 44 presidents of the USA, only 12 of them did not belong to the barracks. The rest have fought wars, commanded armies and held key military positions. Outstanding among these are Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan who fought bitter wars to expand and strengthen the territorial integrity and sovereignty of America.
In 2000, General Colin Powel, another military man from the US, rose from the trenches of America’s military escapades in Iraq to serve as Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration.
In the US, military men are not only confined to national governance but are also incorporated in other affairs of the state that include, but are not limited to, diplomatic services. This is glaringly evident in Zimbabwe where it has consecutively deployed former military men to represent its interests. The current US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, is a retired Major of the US Army. Mr. Ray served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1982. He replaced Ambassador James McGee who also served in the U.S. Air Force from 1968 to 1974.
Closer home in Botswana, the president is a military man, Lieutenant General Ian Khama, who exchanged military fatigue for presidential suits. He is deputized by a soldier, Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe, who has previously served as Khama’s superior in the army. The Batswana government has numerous other top government officials who have hailed from the barracks.
Despite the omnipresence of such decorated military men in the Botswana government, it is hailed as Africa’s beacon of democracy.
Cases of military men who traded their military offices for political persuasions are innumerably abundant and not peculiar to the US or Botswana. Interestingly, the MDC-T, the most vocal proponent of security sector reforms, has also managed to grab this global trend by recruiting military men into its ranks.
It has a legion of serving and retired high ranking military men in its ranks that include retired Major Giles Mutsekwa, who is Minister of Housing and Social Amenities, Retired Colonel Martin Rupiya, Retired Senior Intelligence Officer Pearson Mbalekwa, Former Senior Assistant Commissioner Emmanuel Chibanda, who is the MDC-T Director of Security, Retired Senior Selous Scouts David Coltart, who is Minister of Education and Culture, and the beleaguered white Zimbabwean Roy Bennett, who is MDC-T’s fund raiser and Treasurer General.
There are numerous other junior ranking military people who constitute the membership of this supposedly military averse organization.
The lesson inherent in the afore-mentioned revelations is that military men are universally allowed to become political men.
It is this realisation that palpably jostled Professor Charles Pfukwa, in one of his editorials in The Patriot to question that; ‘How can one man ask another to break his spear when the former has a quiver full of arrows and fully strung bow?”
However all these revelations come on the backdrop of heightened campaigns by the Americans and their local and international quislings to push for security sector reforms in Zimbabwe arguing that the country’s political space has become too militarized.
In line with this imperial crusade, the Crisis in Zimbawe Coalition on 9 June 2011 published a report titled ‘The Military Factor in Zimbabwe’s Political and Electoral Affairs,’ which tries to portray the participation of Zimbabwe’s military men in governance and politics as an insipid phenomenon peculiar to the Southern African nation.
Ironically the crisis savvy organisation recently entangled itself in some security crisis in South Africa when it’s hired mob of largely European demonstrator’s triggered violent skirmishes on the sidelines of the Sandton Extraordinary SADC Summit in South Africa, which were ably managed by the South African security forces. We could be forgiven for believing that the crisis ridden organization would also lobby for the reformation of the South African security forces for dousing their ill-fated violent demonstrations.
What is also puzzling is that the MDC-T, whose members are a constant threat to the general security of Zimbabwe, is spearheading the campaign to emasculate its security sector.
The party recently left a bloody trail of violence on the run up to its fractious national congress in Bulawayo. Also emerging from the womb of the violent congress is a militant youth assembly that immediately launched a violent campaigned they aptly dubbed the ‘eye for an eye campaign’ against ZANU-PF members.
The campaign was consummated when suspected MDC-T supporters callously murdered a police Inspector Petros Mutedza. Inspector Mutedza was lynched by MDC-T’s political followers who were unquestionably buoyed by the instigative ‘eye for an eye’ campaign.
It is such security challenges that the MDC-T and its regime change bedfellows would like the security forces to turn a blind eye against.
One of the concerns raised in Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition’s report was that the military have come up with specifications for who can occupy the presidential seat. They indicated that the position should not be straitjacket.
It is clear from this assertion that these pro-western organisations are naively oblivious of the fact that even their American masters, in buttressing their national security against extraneous forces, have specifications that determine the characteristics of who should become president in their country. It is irrefutable that some of these specifications stipulate that no one with communist and/or Islam inclinations would ever be allowed to rule the US.
In this sense, the US security functionaries at the Pentagon are the guardians of the nation’s presidency and no one has any qualms about it. So what is this hullabaloo against the Zimbabwean security forces when they duly prescribe who should and who should not be the president of Zimbabwe under the prevailing security challenges besieging that country?
It is also interesting that while the MDC-T and its coterie of regime change acolytes are finding fault with the security structures in Zimbabwe, the Sadc Sandton summit had consigned the security issue to the political dustbin. The summit refused to entertain this unsubstantiated security scare.
This regional position was further entrenched when the organisation’s organ responsible for security, after a rigorous scrutiny of the country’s security situation, decided to remove the country from its agenda. This was a slap in the face of the shameless regime change apparatchiks.
Perplexingly, in the militarized country of Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba and while the imperial coalition is propagating its security lies, the General was booted out of the constitution making body, COPAC. How can this happen in a country where the general and his colleagues in the barracks have usurped civilian power?
Similarly, how could Morgan Tsvangirai, in such a de facto military state, be allowed to spew such abrasively provocative utterances against the omnipotent Generals without scurrying for cover at the Dutch Embassy?
Furthermore, how can his party continue to freely traverse the breadth and width of the country holding peace rallies in a country were war veterans, soldiers and youth militia have been deployed to orchestrate violence?
If the military men in the US and other countries are allowed to participate in the political affairs of their countries, why should Zimbabwe’s military men denied the same privilege?
The whole security sector reform crusade smacks of a spirited and disingenuous campaign to weaken Zimbabwe’s military establishments so as expedite the treacherous regime change project. Zimbabwe’s detractors have identified the military as a stumbling block to their imperial designs hence their unremitting denigration of the institution.
The hypocrisy in these calls for security sector reforms is however unquestionable. The Government of Zimbabwe should therefore resist any temptations to concede more ground to these neo-colonial demands as they are insidiously designed to weaken our revolutionary resolve.