Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantino Chiwenga has warned opposition elements bent on fomenting turmoil, and Zanu-PF infiltrators seeking to destroy the party from within, that the country’s security services will not sit and watch as they plot chaos.
In an interview yesterday with The Sunday Mail ahead of the 2016 Heroes and Defence Forces holidays, Gen Chiwenga said the military had a constitutional role to preserve the integrity of the Republic and revolution.
He said: “We were reading mapepa paakatanga kuti ‘when you want to destroy Zanu-PF you need to do it from within’.
“Vaitiudza kuti kuchazoita vamwe vechidiki vanofanirwa kutonga. Hazvina kunyorwa here? Munoti tanga tisingazvioni? Hazvisizvo here zvirikuitika? Ngatidye sadza zvakanaka.”
The general also said: “Kana wada kutonga enda kuvanhu. We are a democratic country.
“We are commemorating Heroes Day; that is blood that was shed and it’s time to reflect. Ropa iroro harina kurasikira mahara. Those people died for you and me.
“Some of us survived the war not because we were the best kana kuti tanga takangwara. No. We survived so that we can bear witness to how this country was liberated …
“Many of those who did not make it to Zimbabwe were the real fighters and some of the celebrated cowards who only saw the border when going into Mozambique and coming back at Independence and never during combat, ndivo vakuzviisa pamberi manje.
“This nonsense of someone who was at a refugee camp or was a cleaner moving around telling people that he or she fought in the struggle is just that – nonsense. Wakarwa hondo kupi?
“Vanhu ngavapute mbanje dzavo zvakanaka, hazvirambidzwi. Kana ririshave rekumusha kwenyu it’s ok, putayi ikoko – don’t disturb us because we have lost thousands of innocent sons and daughters.”
On a “communique” attributed to war veterans which claimed liberation fighters had withdrawn their support for President Mugabe, Gen Chiwenga said a few rogue elements could not tarnish the broader collective.
“When a clique or infiltrators comes in, do you move around saying everyone has rebelled? War veterans start from the President himself down to the last cadre…”
He said a simple look at the leadership of the war veterans association showed none of them were members of the General Staff or High Command during the liberation struggle.
The General Staff were like the middle management, overseeing matters on the ground, and reported to the High Command.
“If we have one rogue war veteran it doesn’t mean everyone is a rogue,” he said.
On those sowing seeds of instability via social media, the ZDF Commander said it was strange that activists and church leaders now thought they were now “more revolutionary than Zanla and Zipra at the height of the liberation war”.
He said the nation should concentrate on development issues instead of brewing unnecessary chaos.
“The issue of shutting the country’s borders is nonsense, it is absolute nonsense. Vanhu ngavaende kudzimba vanodya sadza ravo vakazvigarira. Shutting the borders to please who?” he asked.
He brushed off claims that the ZDF was politically biased, saying: “We went to the struggle and brought Independence and today you cannot say I must shut my mind and completely forget where I came from.
“That’s what our Constitution says. Everyone contributed to writing the Constitution and it says we (the ZDF) shall uphold the Constitution.
“We are apolitical to the extent that we leave you to do what you like but the moment you threaten the sovereignty of the country, then you threaten that very Constitution.
“Please don’t expect us to sit and watch. We are there to protect the people and that’s what we are saying and will do.
Gen Chiwenga said an appreciation of the country’s history would aid the development agenda.
“We have our friends, the Chinese. They are where they are because of their Founding Father, Chairman Mao. Look at the Russians, even if the current leadership is not communist, they respect their Founding Father, Lenin.
“Isu muno tina VaMugabe vedu, ndoovatakabva nawo. He is the Founding Father of this country and it shall remain so.”