07-09-18 by Spotlight Zimbabwe

Zim opposition applauds army’s neutrality, says it won’t boycott polls

Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, General Philip Valerio Sibanda.


Zimbabwe’s main opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-Alliance) has reportedly said it was not going to pull out of the upcoming elections as its presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa commended the military’s recent pledge not to meddle in the country’s politics.

According to NewsDay, Chamisa said that the army’s stance of neutrality ahead of the crunch vote showed that the military was there for the people.

He said: “I am happy to hear that the army has vowed to follow the Constitution. That is good, they are there for the people. When (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa and Chamisa tussle in the political ring, they should step aside. But when Chamisa wins, they should salute, they will be saluting the government, not me.”

Chamisa has registered complaints with the Southern Africa Development Community and the African Union over the southern African nation’s alleged electoral flaws ahead of the vote, said the report.

The MDC-Alliance leader said the electoral playing field was not level and was tipped in Mnangagwa’s favour.

Chamisa’s remarks came a day after he reportedly threatened to unleash an “earthquake” to block the polls if Mnangagwa’s government and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chief Priscilla Chigumba failed to ensure a “free, fair and credible” election.

Previous elections marred by violence

Several red flags have been raised by the MDC-Alliance in the build-up to the elections as it continues to claim anomalies in the voters’ roll, printing of ballots, specimen provisions and the militarised style of the ZEC, according to NewZimbabwe.com.

“It is Mnangagwa who needs an earthquake to make sure Chigumba moves. We don’t need an earthquake to make sure we have a free and fair election. But we will have one,” Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda was quoted as saying.

An AFP report this week said Zimbabwe’s military has vowed to stay neutral in the upcoming elections, dismissing suggestions it would deploy service personnel to influence the national polls scheduled for July 30.

The military is under close scrutiny following its brief takeover in November that led to the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe.

Previous elections under Mugabe were marred by violence, intimidation and fraud – often alleged to involve the security forces.


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  • It is bad enough to have a naïve and gullible electorate this becomes a very serious problem when leaders are just as naïve and gullible! We are talking here of the same army that has played a major part in the vote rigging and wanton violence that has landed the nation in this mess in the first place.

    The same army that staged a military coup only eight months ago and many of those involved have since taken up leading positions in government and a whole company of other were promoted within the army. It is really naïve to think that all those coup plotters would risk life and limb to seize power but only to give it away eight months later!

    Chamisa and his MDC friends had the golden opportunity to implement the reforms which would severed Zanu PF’s undemocratic and corrupting influence in the Army, Police ZEC and all the other state institutions. They failed to get even one reform implemented in five years. It is very disappointing that even with the benefit of hindsight Chamisa is still wet behind the ears!

    The junta has promised to hold free and fair elections but has done nothing to make that happen. Likewise, the army can afford to make greenhorn anything since they know it will never happen! Zanu PF and the Army are busy rigging these elections.

    These elections should not be taking place without implementing the reforms; idiots like Chamisa are not doing the nation any favours with their blundering incompetence.