Leave Politics To Politicians: Tsvangirai Urges Zim Military

Tsvangirai made this statement ahead of the heroes and defence forces days commemorated on the second Monday and Tuesday of August every year.
Tsvangirai castigated certain members of the military and urged them to stop meddling in politics.

“The past few years have seen the deployment of some members of the army into the villages to brutalise and attack innocent civilians on the basis of their political affiliation”.
Tsvangirai added, “It is international best practice that the army should confine itself to the barracks and leave politics to politicians,” said Tsvangirai.
The Zimbabwean army has in the last 30 years been accused of perpetrating coordinated killings of innocent civilians.
 More than 20 000 people were killed in Matabeleland and Midlands in the 80s during a massacre led by fifth brigade against President Robert Mugabe’s opponents.
In June 2008 more than 500 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were killed in state sponsored violence masterminded by the army.
Tsvangirai said soldiers be “at the epicenter of defending and protecting the people and not attacking and brutalising them”.
The Prime Minister has received condemnation from the army for calling on them to stop ‘militarising villages’.
“As leaders, we have no reason to be fighting our national institutions if they are performing their national duty. But we naturally take umbrage at the militarisation of our politics and the politicisation of the military. Zimbabweans want protection from their defence forces,” Tsvangirai said.
The MDC has called for the reform of the security sector before the next elections. But Mugabe and his Zanu PF are blocking the reforms.
Tsvangirai criticised Zanu (PF) for turning the Heroes and Defence Forces commemorations into political party events. He said the actions by Mugabe and Zanu PF were demeaning the sacrifices made by those who fought in the liberation struggle.
“It is demeaning to the great sons and daughters of this land; indeed an affront to their national contribution, to give the impression that their sacrifice should be the narrow and parochial possession of Zanu (PF), the MDC, ZAPU or Mavambo,” said Tsvangirai.
He added: “So this great day cannot be privatised by any political party. Even the selection of our heroes and heroines must not be the exclusive preserve of any political organization”.

The Premier added, “the MDC’s national council, the Zanu (PF) Politburo or any organ of any party cannot bastardise a great national day such as this one to be a day of cheap rhetoric and sloganeering; a day of name-calling and politicking.”