Army quiz top MDC official

HARARE - The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) this week reportedly quizzed a top official from Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube’s MDC party on allegations of recruiting army personnel into his party.

Goodrich Chimbaira, Ncube’s national chairperson told the Daily News on Sunday, yesterday he met with three army personnel from the military police at his shopping complex in Chitungwiza last Wednesday who accused him of creating a secret army to unleash violence ahead of elections.

“Three soldiers from the military police called me for a meeting at my complex. They said they were investigating allegations that I had created an army to harass Zanu PF supporters,” said Chimbaira.
“I think they are acting on Zanu PF’s instructions and have a sinister motive behind because having no military back ground, where would I get the capacity to recruit soldiers for my party. I think they are up to no good and it does not make me comfortable,” said Chimbaira.

This follows allegations by Zanu PF members that a ZNA member Mabasa Mutanga was working with the MDC formation to destabilise party structures in the district.

Party youths demanded that Mutanga write a report to their district chairperson Funny Katewa explaining his association with Chimbaira which he has done.

In the report to Katewa dated December 27, 2012, a copy of which is in our possession, Mutanga whose rank and station was not given declared his unwavering support for Zanu PF. Mutanga said he was employed to serve Zanu PF interests and that he would not forsake the party that feeds him for any opposition party.

“While I take cognisance of the fact that as a soldier, I was employed to serve the government and the people and the government and the people are Zanu PF (sic). I have never turned my back to bite the hand that feeds me for any opposition party, more-so opposition in the form of MDC which is the only enemy we are fighting,” wrote Mutanga.

Ncube’s MDC national spokesperson Nhlahla Dube however, dismissed the allegations as cheap propaganda by Zanu PF to portray itself as victims of violence when they are the perpetrators.

“Such allegations are cheap propaganda by Zanu PF to play victim and must be dismissed with the contempt that they deserve. The only army we have is the Zimbabwe national army and the only quasi-military we know is the one used by Zanu PF to unleash violence against the people.

“We are a democratic party that believes in democratic change. We are however, aware that the ascendancy of Ncube up the political ladder has unsettled many hence the intimidation but that cannot be halted,” he said.

Contacted by the Daily News on Sunday, Mutanga confirmed he authored the letter.

“I am Zanu PF because the party gave me my job way before the advent of the MDC. It is true I wrote the letter and my intention was to reaffirm my allegiance to the party (Zanu PF),” Mutanga said over the phone.

In the correspondence also copied to ZNA, Mutanga cautioned that Zanu PF risked falling to the MDC propaganda material as the case had been blown out of proportion by party members allegedly jealous of his wealth.

From the 2002 presidential election “straight jacket” pronouncements by then army chief Vitalis Zvinavashe and other military generals and the then brigadier-general Douglas Nyikayaramba’s characterisation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a national security threat.

Zimbabwe’s belligerent military has declared its undying love for President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
The security sector commanders have said theywould not salute anyone without liberation war credentials, statements analysts say are aimed at Tsvangirai.

Zanu PF politburo member and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa last year added to the anxiety in an interview with the BBC when he warned that Tsvangirai was headed for trouble with the country’s military and veterans of the liberation struggle in the event he wins next year’s presidential elections.

Tsvangirai and his lieutenants have reacted angrily to the threats calling them a pre-emptive coup.

Zimbabwe is expected to hold fresh elections this year to replace a fractious coalition administration which has been in office over the past four years following violent and inconclusive elections in 2008.

But questions remain over the prospects of a peaceful transition in the event Tsvangirai wins the presidential vote after senior military generals warned that he would not be allowed to take over power.

Zanu PF has long accused Tsvangirai of being a front for the interests of Western countries as well as white former commercial farmers still nursing grief over the takeover of their farms for re-distribution to landless blacks. - Mugove Tafirenyika

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