On Wednesday, Mnangagwa told Parliament that only those in the military chain of command can be saluted by security forces, explaining that in the tradition of armies the world over, subordinates salute superiors and the seniors salute in return.
His statement implied that only Robert Mugabe, as Commander of the Defence Forces and he, as Defence minister were the ones to be saluted by the service chiefs and other officers.
“It’s not only untrue but nonsensical as well. It is unfortunate that a man like Mnangagwa should make such a comment in Parliament. You would expect that with all the years that he spent during the liberation war and also the fact that he was minister of state for security after independence, you would expect him to know better,” Mutsekwa, also a cabinet minister told SW Radio Africa on Friday.
He dismissed Mnangagwa’s comments as “ridiculous, sad and unnecessary,” saying the ZANU PF strongman misled the nation. Mutsekwa said if somebody in authority like Mnangagwa wanted to make a statement it had to be “educative and not a pack of lies.”
“Still on the issue of the military, I want to let the nation know that I’ve been inundated with representations from serving members of our security forces including brigadiers, high ranking intelligence officers and the police distancing themselves from people like (Brigadier-General Douglas) Nyikayaramba,” Mutsekwa said.
Nyikayaramba recently said the army would not salute any President without liberation war credentials, adding that Tsvangirai is a “national security threat rather than a political one.”
Mutsekwa said: “On a daily basis I get representations from senior assistant commissioners and below, Brigadiers and below and intelligence officers who have said and made it clear to me that they want to distance themselves from these ruthless and careless remarks that are attributed to some of their colleagues in the army.”
He added: “The messages they give me is that not only are these their personal views but that they are views of people who are not professionally qualified, who have not received requisite training when they came back from the liberation war.”
“They wanted to assure me that they will respect and honour the result that comes out of an election. In other words what they are saying is they are looking forward to a change in government and indeed a government led by the MDC,” Mutsekwa continued.
The MDC-T MP for Mutare North, who is also a retired soldier, said his party was not worried by a growing number of “voices coming from the army” that they will never allow the MDC to rule even if they win the next election.
“That is tantamount to coup. One thing I want to tell this nation is that I’m a professional soldier to start with and I know what it means if officers want to stage a coup,” Mutsekwa said.
“They certainly don’t go about it advertising in newspapers like we see in Zimbabwe. They don’t make it public, in actual fact a person who is masterminding or planning a coup will do it secretly and if he’s to be caught, he’ll be arrested at a very secretive place,”
“These statements are meant to frighten or intimidate voters so that they don’t make free choices when elections come. Such statements only come from a few rogue and misguided elements in the military,” according to Mutsekwa.Post published in: News