Corrupt army bosses panic as we mark Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day

Posted: August 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

Recent activities of defiance in the military have exposed to Zimbabwe Service Chiefs that their tight grip on the military is slipping. At a recent military high command meeting to celebrate Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day, I hear that sharp differences emerged among the “securocrats” on how to treat the Zimbabwean army’s relations with politics. Apparently a majority of the high military command members proposed that the army be independent of politics and focus mainly on defending the country from external threats, shifting away from a close relationship with ZANU PF that they believe is causing dissent within the army rank and file. This led to fierce

They have a reason to be AFRAID…

clashes as others, notably Zimbabwe Defence Forces boss Emerson Mnangagwa and Constantine Chiwenga, remained in favour of the idea that the military be aligned with ZANU PF.

Those in favour of change cited recent events where some members of ZDF disturbed the recent census workshops countrywide, defying their bosses who urged them to return to their barracks. Political analysts in Harare say army bosses fear rebellion in the army. This may be the reason why this year, unlike in previous years, Army chiefs have begun to tone down their aggressive language against MDC. In his interview to mark Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day, Constantine Chiwenga said the army was loyal to civilian rule, dismissing those who suggest that the army is too close to the liberation movement ZANU PF. This could be seen as a significant departure from previous partisan politics as in the past people like Chiwenga have publicly stated that they wouldn’t support a civilian candidate if they were to win elections. A few days earlier, the Zimbabwe Air Marshal boss, Perence Shiri thanked the army for avoiding a coup d’état, making it clear that the military chiefs are very worried about possibilities of the army going rogue given the current economic hardships in the country. Many sources in the army believe that the rest of the army is not interested in being used as a private military for the former ruling ZANU PF, particularly not if it involves beating civilians.

Unfair treatment of the army

Rumblings from the army suggest that many members are not happy about the way they are being treated, complaining that their bosses are looting the country’s natural resources while they get low salaries, especially the Marange Diamonds where army chiefs are involved in corrupt activities with their Chinese counterparts. The ZDF runs a joint venture with a Chinese Military company Anjin. The Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti is on record saying there is massive corruption in the diamond sector involving military chiefs and that they are not giving the treasury enough of the proceeds of diamond sales as mandated by law. Sources say junior officers in the army are aware of illegal diamonds trading involving the current Minister of Defence and other chiefs like Chiwenga and Sibanda who all use intermediaries to deal on their behalf. There are also several reports of unhappiness derived from the fact that there is an ongoing witch-hunt for MDC sympathisers in the army. Junior army officers feel the rest of the army, just like senior personnel have a right to belong to any political party of their choice. In their most recent meeting in Harare, I am told that service chiefs conceded there is a need for a new approach and that they have agreed that even their families must be encouraged not to flaunt their wealth in public. Allegedly the service chiefs agreed to tone down their aggressive language against the MDC and agreed that that they should avoid public statements that support ZANU PF.

A reason to be afraid

Zimbabwe’s army has been involved in conflicts like the Democratic Republic of Congo where the military has often changed their allegiances due to dissatisfaction of their leaders and general suffering. As a result, Zimbabwean army chiefs are trying by all means to avoid a similar shift. The recent army activities in disturbing the census confirms the fact that the army is not happy and there are greater dangers that in future it might be difficult to control this type of outburst. A few weeks ago, junior officers at Lewelliyn Barracks apparently said they cannot be taught history by General Mugoba and Bulawayo Governor Cain Mathema who had earlier addressed them at a funeral, saying only ZANU PF fought for the liberation of Zimbabwe. Officers at Lewelliyn were said to be surprised at the failure of the Generals to realise that they have lost touch with reality. The forthcoming referendum and elections all provide a fertile environment for the army to spark their defiance into greater scales and therefore the army bosses are right to be afraid. A general view from the public is that the army must be separated from politics and until that happens, the threat of a military coup d’état will remain high.

  1. Rejoice Ngwenya says:

    And they still want to meddle in census! Why don’t they just retire before they are arrested?

  2. Mathula says:

    he he I am sure they prefer prison..not long from now..

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