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'Military role in politics cannot be wished away' argue Biti - always paid lip service to democratic changes

22 Aug 2020 at 08:02hrs | Views
"Biti says military role in Zimbabwe politics cannot be wished away!" screamed the headlines in Bulawayo24.

"There must be dialogue that takes care of military concerns. In 2008 after the MDC won the elections, the military sent envoys to talk to Morgan Tsvangirai and they raised six key issues, including concerns about transitional justice," said Biti according to Daily News.

"They wanted to know if a future government would not prosecute them for crimes they had been made to commit in the past, and we gave them assurance on a transparent programme of transitional justice."

"Politics must lead the gun; the gun must not rule Zimbabwe!" is an adage that Mugabe himself had repeated several time in the early years. It was Mugabe himself who abandoned the adage when he invited the Army, Police and CIO to commit serious human rights violations notably during Gukurahundi and during elections to consolidate Zanu PF's iron grip on power. As a reward for doing Zanu PF's dirty work, Mugabe gave the top brass in the security services a share of the looted wealth.

Mugabe formed the now infamous Joint Operation Command (JOC) amassing the top brass in the Army, Police, CIO and Prison Service plus a select few from Zanu PF headed by Mugabe himself with Mnangagwa as his deputy.

The primary purpose of the junta was to keep political power firmly in the hands of Zanu PF, the public face of the junta.  JOC would establish various task forces to ruthlessly crash all Zanu PF's critics and opponents. The junta will also facilitate and coordinate the wholesale looting of the nation's resources for the benefit of the ruling elite.

JOC has become a Mafia looting and committing all manner of lawlessness to protect the members' selfish interests. JOC called November 2017 military coup that toppled Mugabe "Operation Restore Legacy!" because the coup consolidate the Junta's struggle hold on power. "Chinhu chedu!" (Our thing!) is the buzz word among the junta.

It has been impossible to stamp out corruption because the JOC members are the Godfathers of corruption. They sense of entitlement is so strong and pervasive they have ring fence the Marange and Chiadzwa diamond fields and many other lucrative economic activities as "untouchables".

There is no doubt they would key posts in the civilian government ring fenced for ex- military personal just as an insurance to guarantee their interests. What JOC must understand is the rotten political system is the root cause of the country economic and political mess. And that for the sake of saving the nation from any more tragic human suffering and deaths; the rotten system must be dismantled.   

40 years of gross mismanagement, rampant corruption, rank lawlessness and barbaric oppression have left the country in economic ruins and with over 30 000 murdered for political gain alone.

34% of Zimbabweans then, according to a 2019 WB report, were living in extreme poverty; i.e. they could not afford one decent meal a day much less other basic necessities such as education for the children and health care. All the other countries in the region has single digit figures living in extreme poverty.

The corona virus outbreak has made life in Zimbabwe hell on earth because the country economic meltdown and collapse health care meant the country was the least prepared to deal with the pandemic. The disruption of the little economic activity going on means the proportion of Zimbabweans now living in extreme poverty has surged way above 34%.

Zimbabwe's political and economic status quo of the last 40 years has failed the nation and it must change.

Zimbabwe is not the first country in the world to find itself in a situation where the status quo is unsustainable and with those in power fearful of change because they have looted wealth to guard and, worst of all, many skeletons they do not want uncovered. There are no easy answers.

However, what must be stated clearly here and now is that these fears must not be allowed to stand in the way of change because the status quo is unbearable. Every day change is delayed is one more day of heart breaking hardship, God knows how many more lives lost, the deeper the nation will sink into this morose and the harder it will be get out.

Those tasked to overhaul Zimbabwe's rotten political system, there is no denying it is rotten to the core, must have the vision and courage to reaffirm the common sense adage that politics and not the gun must rule Zimbabwe. The formation of JOC and thus allowing the gun to rule the country by the back door was a fatal mistake that must now be stamped out once and once for all.

The only reason why the army have played and continue to play the dishonourable role as Zanu PF's partner in the looting and tyrannical oppression; is because of Zimbabwe's rotten political system that is forcing them to. The irony is the people risked life and limb to elect Tendai Biti and his MDC friends to implement the democratic reforms designed to break Zanu PF's struggle hold on the military and other state institutions. It is now clear why Biti and company failed to implement even one reform - they never believed they could change anything!

"Military role in Zimbabwe politics cannot be wished away!" You never believed in democratic change!

All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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