Massive Army Recruitment – A Hidden Agenda

“Why target Matabeleland from all the regions in particular? We have seen Matabeleland being used as a political laboratory for all sorts of experiments and we feel this is one such project,” Bulawayo Agenda said in a statement obtained by Radio VOP.

Bulawayo Agenda called on youth in Matabeleland to shun the army call up, saying the youth needed jobs in industries and not the military.

“Matabeleland has more pressing priorities than employing its youth by the military. People of Matabeleland need water not the Army. Employ all these youth in the Matabeleland Zambezi Water project than make them soldiers.

“We believe that they will be used to perpetuate violence during elections next year if they join the Army. We would like to urge the youth to make responsible decisions concerning their future and that of the country,” Bulawayo Agenda noted.

“We are not in a war situation. We do not see any significant security threat to warrant fresh recruitment. This is a plot to weaken the Matabeleland electorate through a postal vote mechanism.

Soldiers cast their vote through the postal voting system. But the mechanism has been criticised as a vote rigging process as there have been reports of soldiers being forced to cast their votes in front of their commanders.

“Voting of the military is highly vulnerable to manipulation and this would have an adverse effect on the political voice of the people of Matabeleland,” it noted.

The country may head for polls next year to undo a unity government launched in February, 2009 between President Robert Mugabe and the former opposition MDC. Both Mugabe and MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have insisted on fresh elections as a way of solving the current political impasse caused by the lack of implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which brought about the formation of the fragile coalition government.

Zanu (PF) has already embarked on a campaign of intimidation and violence against suspected MDC supporters with reports that soldiers had been deployed to direct election campaigns for the party.

Tsvangirai has however said his MDC party will boycott polls if there is violence and intimidation against its supporters.

In 2008 almost 200 MDC supporters were killed, while thousands others were tortured, beaten, raped and displaced from their homes in the pre and post election violence.