'5 000 soldiers deployed to rural areas'

HARARE - Opposition leader Ambrose Mutinhiri has told an election observer team from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) that regional bodies should deploy military personnel to observe the forthcoming elections alleging over 5 000 soldiers have been deployed to rural areas.

Mutinhiri, who leads the National Patriotic Front (NPF) and is a former brigadier general, claims that while 2 000 soldiers were deployed before the start of Operation Restore Legacy which ousted former president Robert Mugabe, the number has since ballooned to 5 000.

“The army confirms that by 15 November 2017, it had put over 2 000 of its officers and embedded them in every community in Zimbabwe not just for the coup but for the forthcoming elections.

This number is now over 5 000.

“Zimbabwe cannot hold free, fair and credible elections with over 5 000 army officers embedded in every village and street communities across the country,” Mutinhiri said in his communiqué seen by the Daily News on Sunday to the visiting Sadc head of delegation, Leshele Thohlane.

The Daily News on Sunday sent questions to army spokesperson Overson Mugwisi on the alleged deployment, an allegation first made by the mainstream MDC, but there has been no response.

Mutinhiri, just like Mugabe, said Sadc — which is accused by some of turning a blind eye on the “unconstitutional” removal of the former Zanu PF leader from office- should now redeem itself by ensuring “that there are army officers to monitor the elections at every polling station, every collation centre and every command centre across the country.”

“If this is not done, the election will be stolen,” Mutinhiri warned the seven-member Sadc Electoral Advisory Council.

In his presentation on the electoral environment in Zimbabwe, Mutinhiri also said action should be taken against senior civil servants, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba and chief secretary to the president Misheck Sibanda, for allegedly working in cahoots with the military to remove Mugabe last November.

“It is of grave concern that key heads of civilian institutions that have major responsibilities to do with the administration of elections were part and parcel of the illegal military coup and these are...Sibanda...who failed to uphold his loyalty to...Mugabe and joined the coup makers against clear provisions of the Constitution...has remained in his position and has a lot to do with the administration of the election process. He cannot remain in that position if Zimbabwe is to have free, fair and credible elections...(permanent secretary in the ministry of Foreign Affairs) Joey Bimha. He was clearly part of the coup and used his position to mobilise Zimbabwe’s embassies to support the coup.

“Election observers are decided by his ministry and has already shown his hand in advancing the cause of the coup against the Constitution of Zimbabwe. He cannot remain in that position if Zimbabwe is to hold free, fair and credible elections.

“...Charamba, he was the secretary of the coup and has remained its voice. His responsibilities are to administer State information in the country. Information is the glue of free, fair and credible elections. Zimbabwe cannot hold free, fair and credible elections if State information is administered by the secretary of the coup. That is just impossible,” alleged Mutinnhiri.

Mugabe, who has reportedly endorsed Mutinhiri’s new political party, told reporters last week that he was “illegally” removed from power and seemingly blamed Sadc and the African Union for turning a blind eye to the soft coup.

While Mugabe distanced himself from NPF, his former allies who are currently exiled could be part of the opposition party, according to Mutinhiri, who hinted in the letter to Sadc that some of the fledgling political party members are still exiled and cannot freely express themselves in Zimbabwe.

“NPF’s wish would have been to bring before your Council, some of its founding members who have served in various public responsibilities and who have firsthand experience and knowledge why elections in Zimbabwe cannot be free, fair and credible under current military conditions that are worse than those witnessed in 2008.

“It is unfortunate that the NPF members with this experience and knowledge cannot appear before you in Zimbabwe because of the threatening and very dangerous situation arising from the 15 November 2017 military coup.

“NPF would be pleased if your esteemed Council takes this matter seriously and enables the NPF members in question to make their oral presentations on what they know outside Zimbabwe where their safety and security would be guaranteed,” said Mutinhiri.

Comments (15)

Surely Mutinhiri does not have strategy. Politics is about yourself and not to wait for Jonso to give you a weird strategy. You cannot use Bob and Grace as your strategist, Bob is extremely old, who cannot be even a chief or headman and Grace is just but a glorified typist and no one in their right senses would want to listen to an empty vessel. Mutinhiri and your party will never win even a single seat plus you are not attractive to the electorate. In my view you are confused and if clever channel Grace's looted funds to your well being otherwise you are going to die a very poor man. You are being used by other people emotions without using your own brains, shame on you

2018 - 18 March 2018

Mutinhiri's claims must b verified& confirmed -to determine the credibility of such politicians if they are not only mere rumour mongers or prejudiced reactionary politicking elements

addmore gudo - 18 March 2018

mutinhiri knows about army deployment and all zanu 's dirty tactics as a former soldier himself,ignore him at yr own risk

fatso - 19 March 2018

Mutinhiri is a soldier and he knows how elections are rigged , that is why Zanu Pf made a lot of noise when he resigned from , it's now upon us to take or to ignore his advise , he has seen it all .

Mudhara - 19 March 2018

people should not only hate those who are communicating but should listen and read between lines of what is being said.I bet , there is some substance in what Mutinhiri is saying , refuse it at your expense.

matebele warrior - 19 March 2018

I know for a fact that there are thousands of soldiers deployed for elections. this has happened in every election since the 2002 presidential election. Mutinhiri knows what he is talking about. Where I disagree with him is that he is only complaining now, but was part of the system that covertly allowed serving military and intelligence personnel to be embeded into the electoral process. It is very worrying that the military , with the assistance and at the behest of ZANU-PF leadership, have thus far gotten away with this flagrant disregard of our constitution.

gudo - 19 March 2018

this tired soldier who jumped ship to form his ailing party, this man has down this since the liberation struggle being a sell out

Anthony mazuru - 19 March 2018

Why did he not talk about military deployment in the previous elections? Why now?He now has a different agenda that suits him . Go hang Mutinhiri

tongesai - 19 March 2018

Hiiiiii pakaipa

muchabvuma - 19 March 2018

We can all verify this by calling our relatives in the rural areas and ask them if they have unknown individual within their communities

edy - 20 March 2018

Guyz let us not take this issue for granted Mutinhiri was a soldier and he knows Zanu-pf very well, let us work with his ideas to overthrow this illegitimate government , ,,, Chamisa is the only way forward

chifinhu - 21 March 2018

Eddy .soldiers are deployed to their rural homes and they will be operating in sticks (small numbers of 4)composing one one soldier,one cio,one detail from pisi(zrp intelligence) and they wont be wearing uniform the fourth commander will be either cio or zdf.So they wont be strangers to the communities they are deployed.They will pretend to be on leave or to have been discharged or to have resigned or retired.

tich - 22 March 2018

Mutinhiri is a damn liar, a failed war vet, a disgraceful former senior officer, failed politician, failed husband and a non-performer. Thats Mutinhiri for in a nutshell listern to him at your peril.

sam mapoka - 22 March 2018

Mutinhiri is a damn liar, a failed war vet, a disgraceful former senior officer, failed politician, failed husband and a non-performer. Thats Mutinhiri for you in a nutshell, listen to him at your peril.

sam mapoka - 22 March 2018

Mutinhiri arikutaura chokwadi. Remember kuti in the military there are still some serious followers of Robert Mugabe. Ndoo vanenge vachiburitsa jet rese iri.

Biata Nyamupinga - 24 March 2018

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