Service chiefs offside, says ex-army colonel

BULAWAYO - Former United Nations peacekeeping mission ambassador Ray Ncube has waded into the war between the MDC formations and Zanu PF over security sector reform following threats by some security sector commanders who have threatened not to recognise Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai if he won elections.

Ncube, a retired military colonel, says the utterances are a reckless threat to democracy.  

Several security sector commanders have repeatedly vowed never to salute Tsvangirai even if he was to win elections.

The former Bulawayo provincial chairperson for the revived Zapu party said in his international military and diplomatic experience, the conduct by the commanders was “unheard off and ill-advised”.

“The recent statements by the service chiefs are very unfortunate and can only serve to assure the nation the democracy we uphold so much as a nation is inconsequential,” said Ncube.

“The democratic values dictate that civilians run the government or a state. Security organs are security and defence tools or arms that facilitate good governance,” he said.

Ncube said the generals had no say on how a country or state must be governed.

“Service chiefs come and go and have got very little if anything to say on government transitional systems and we hope that with time they will refrain in word and deed from such inflammatory language,” said Ncube, who has worked in several European and African countries under UN peace keeping missions.

Addressing more than 30 000 people who attended an MDC rally in Harare last weekend Tsvangirai warned the security sector commanders against assaulting the will of the people.

Tsvangirai said the constitution required security institutions to be “professional and non-partisan”.

“They should be professional and respect the wishes of the people,” he said.

“I don’t get my mandate from anyone else except the people of Zimbabwe,” said Tsvangirai, who was recently described as a “psychiatric patient” by Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Constantine Chiwenga.

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