Emergence of militarist groups signals ‘scary time’ ahead


cm 0pt”>With the emergence of militarist groups in the struggle to overcome Robert Mugabe’s repressive rule in Zimbabwe, the country’s crisis may be heading for a new dimension that could lead to convoluted circumstances for the entire region.

The militants declare that peaceful means to effect democratic rule have failed, largely frustrated by Mugabe’s government, and so the sole option to gain freedom is through the barrel of a gun.

At this moment, such groups may not be taken very seriously by some observers, ostensibly because their operations are carried out in a clandestine manner. It would however be naïve for serious thinkers to dismiss such groups as non-existent impostors who want to reap financial gain from supporters.

A high degree of secrecy is normally observed in militant movements, as it is paramount for the survival of members. Considering the omnipresence of the CIO in and outside the country, if the militants operate openly they wouldn’t last long enough to effect any change in Zimbabwe.

To date, such groups include the controversy-ridden Zimbabwe Action Support Group (ZASG), the even more covert Zimbabwe Patriotic Resistance Forum (ZPRF) and the newly announced Patriotic Military Front (PMF), all of which call for a violent confrontation with the Zanu (PF) government.

Viewed from a certain angle, allegations that the ZASG faked having addressed ‘star rallies’ in Maputo may be immaterial; though they have cast a great deal of doubt on its credibility. Nonetheless, the group still deserves the benefit of the doubt, in that as a purported militant organization, as distinguished from a strictly political one, it has to operate differently.

MDC chairperson Isaac Matongo recently berated the ZASG, which he said was formed by his opponent in the ‘other MDC’ Welshman Ncube. He accused it of misleading the nation and SADC region, and threatened to close it down. He also distanced his party from the group, which was a wise thing to do to protect his faction from being branded as being aligned to a dubious and violent organisation.

The emergence of the Zimbabwe Patriotic Resistance Forum (ZPRF) is another indication of possibly scary times to come. Its spokesperson, Gen Ibva Chembere, announced in a recent press statement that the group is planning armed resistance to topple Mugabe’s despotic regime, as is the Patriotic Military Front (PMF).

Anyone who calls for armed insurrection against any government in the world must know that he is drawing armed attention to himself. For journalists to pose questions to the ZASG’s Rodgers Mudarikwa or the ZPRF’s Gen Chembere about their clandestine activities, just as they would with ordinary opposition politicians, may not draw the desired results.

Mudarikwa’s seemingly confused response about the ‘faked’ rallies may carry conflicting perceptions, since a rally may be one thing to an ordinary politician or journalist, and something different to a militant fighter. A group of 10 armed resistance fighters may meet at a secret venue and hammer out strategies to overthrow the Zanu (PF) government, and to them that might be considered a ‘star’ rally.

In the past, similarly clandestine militant groups have emerged in Africa and succeeded in overthrowing repressive regimes, albeit sometimes replacing them with similar ones. All those initially mobilized secretly, till they gathered enough momentum to conduct bold operations and publicise their operations.

The weapons and personnel can easily come from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) itself, since it contains thousands of disgruntled soldiers who only need direction and encouragement to overthrow the despot.

Such a development certainly keeps the CIO on its toes, and probably eases its focus on ordinary opposition politicians and harmless citizens. Given its ineptitude, displayed ever since it was formed by the Rhodesian security services decades ago, the CIO is very likely to suspect the wrong people, arrest, torture and even murder them.

As a political organization, the MDC does well to distance itself from the ZASG, not only because it may have been formed by a rival faction leader.

Plunging the country into civil chaos in order to save it is certainly not a pleasant option, and would lead to untold suffering. However, at this stage the indication is that it may be the alternative that provides hope for the suffering people of Zimbabwe, since their preferred MDC political leaders were rigged out of power and now seem to have run out of ideas. Those who protest continue to be routinely detained without trial, assaulted and humiliated in police custody.

This is probably prime time for South African President Thabo Mbeki to increase the volume on his diplomacy over the Zimbabwean crisis, if the ‘quiet’ one still exists at all. The same applies to other regional and African Union leaders, all of whom have so far appeared terrified of the Zimbabwean despot.

Leaders of the global onslaught against terrorism also have to remember that civil strife is a fertile recruitment ground for international terrorists, and should at least get interested in the events unraveling in Zimbabwe. They have seen the terrorism in East Africa, following the Somalian collapse of government and ensuing civil chaos. Resulting from a meltdown in Zimbabwe, the terror venues may shift from Nairobi to Harare, Johannesburg, Maputo, Lusaka and Gaborone; so George Bush be warned.

Post published in: Opinions

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