Ballot mightier than the bullet

Although their noises and blatant misrepresentation of issues –– which have reached alarming and desperate levels –– might appear like political madness, there is however method to the madness. They are following a script they have used before. The template is the same, except that they now pretend they have renounced violence.

The plan is simple. Mugabe, backed by Zanu PF and state security hardliners, want to wriggle out of the GPA and its key obligations and stampede the nation into elections this year and then manipulate his way back to power.

While Mugabe and his loyalists are pushing the political agenda, the security forces are playing their part: laying the ground for Zanu PF campaigns through meetings with voters, mainly villagers, and issuing partisan and threatening statements –– all this against the constitution and the law. In other words they are doing this brazenly and unlawfully as they have done in the past.

Mugabe’s pretexts to rush into elections, informed by his old age, health complications, factionalism and succession dynamics within Zanu PF and his mortal fear of being held to account for human rights abuses committed by his regime, include claims that the GPA is illegal; it has expired; elections are now overdue; the GPA was only signed to stop violence and thus no causal link between it and constitution-making process; the inclusive government constitutionally ends in March next year and that he has powers to call elections under the current constitution, which implies abandoning Copac.

 

There are many other shabby excuses coming from Zanu PF, including conferences and even the weather. The same approach of sophistry and obfuscation –– underpinned by lack of imagination –– is being used to create smoke-and-mirrors over the outcome of the Sadc summit and troika meetings in Luanda, Angola, last week.

It’s all about deception and manipulation –– which of course is clearly not working. While their inept propaganda campaign is collapsing, it is the role of the military which is disturbing. The military has now decided to fight the constitution, the law and the people. The next elections will thus be the bullet versus the ballot. After recent poisonous remarks by Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba and Major-General Martin Chedondo, among many other senior military officers, there were shocking statements this week by Major-General Trust Mugoba, showing security forces are determined to unconstitutionally and illegally influence the outcome of the next elections.

Addressing mourners during the funeral parade of Lieutenant-Colonel Thabani Khumalo at Imbizo Barracks in Bulawayo this week, Mugoba said the army will not allow rivals to Mugabe and Zanu PF to rule even if they win elections.

“Society must understand that the land reform and the indigenisation programmes are part of our revolutionary history. As the military, we do not only believe, but act in defence of these values and we will not respect any leader who does not respect the revolution,” he said.

“We will not even allow them to go into office because they do not represent the ideology we fought for. As the military establishment, we have an ideology that is represented in the mission of Zanu PF.”

This is really scandalous; not least because these remarks are coming from a senior army officer who seems to think that his bigheaded colleagues and himself can willfully and brashly trample on the constitution and laws of the country with impunity.

Quite clearly, if the rule of law was upheld, these soldiers would be up for court-martialling on treason and other related charges. Elsewhere they would be jailed or dismissed for such offences, a major threat to the constitutional order. 

 

By so doing they are undermining law and order, while fomenting an explosive situation which can easily deteriorate into a flashpoint, with tragic consequences. It is rather amazing and outrageous how senior army officers can be so reckless and irresponsible. In democratic societies, they would never get away with such behaviour.

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