In any normal democracy at least, where the people are supposed to elect their leaders, the army is not expected to cause unnecessary confusion by meddling in politics except by campaigning on equal platforms like any other civilians.
One cannot just sit down and remain silent in the event of our country’s security forces being led by elements who lack elementary modesty and discipline, like the majority of the current crop of our generals and service chiefs. It is quite disturbing to note that from our independence up to now the security forces have always been abused or have abused their powers, starting with their role in Gukurahundi. Our country’s leaders are responsible for nurturing bloodthirsty and trigger-happy institutions. It was inculcated in the minds of our people in Africa that power is force, hence the notion by our leaders that they have to be feared.
Coming to recent years, our security forces have forgotten their proper role in defending and promoting peace. Most of them are often instigators of violence in society. The sentiments of the leadership of the army need to be condemned in the strongest possible terms; they are totally unacceptable.
Before the 2008 harmonised elections, the service chiefs openly stated that they won’t salute anyone without liberation war credentials. These men forget that they are not the ones who install governments, but are supposed to serve any government elected by the people, who are in fact their masters.
Military institutions are not masters of government and the people, but servants of the government, which in turn is the servant of the people. The military’s arrogance and reluctance to reform is still seen even today, three years into the inclusive government.
Recent remarks by Brig-General Douglas Nyikayaramba on MDC-T being a threat to state security is a serious sign of indiscipline and thuggery. These misguided generals shamelessly think that they are alphas and omegas of the Zimbabwean government. It will not be surprising that some of the people making all this loud noise only joined the liberation struggle at its dying stages, when the true and patriotic liberation fighters had already died in the struggle. The assembly-point generals want everyone to think Zimbabwe is for them alone. Any true liberation fighter will never fight against the will of the people, because the liberation struggle came from the desire to make everyone equal regardless of colour, tribe, religion and political affiliation. Hence true liberation fighters will salute and serve anyone voted by the people.
What these generals should know is, in Zimbabwe there are many patriotic and nationalistic soldiers who are professional and are willing to serve their country. The president is the commander-in-chief of the army, not the owner; they should divorce their minds from illusions and hallucinations and come to reality. If they are not willing to serve the will of the people they should resign instead of causing confusion and indiscipline.
What they should know is no government or president can last forever. The generals as products of the military academies know better from the military adage that “the pen is mightier than the sword”. Only thugs and hoodlums will be willing to beat and kill their innocent fellow countrymen in order to satiate and please a dictator.