Anger over General Chedondo’s ‘treasonous’ comments

Giles Mutsekwa, the MDC-T’s secretary for Defence, Security and Intelligence has taken a swipe at Major General Martin Chedondo’s ‘treasonous’ political comments, describing him as ‘a soldier of fortune’ who should be dismissed from the army.

Giles Mutsekwa
Giles Mutsekwa

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Chief of Staff caused a stir this week when he declared open allegiance to ZANU PF and urged the military to accept no other political party.

In his address to 3 000 infantry troops from 2 Brigade in Mutoko on Tuesday, the Major General said soldiers should be involved in politics and made it clear they should support ZANU PF. His statement has attracted condemnation both inside and outside the military.

Mutsekwa, a National Housing Minister from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party said he will be speaking to Defence Minister Emmerson Mnanagwa soon to see what his views are on the matter.

He said the general’s utterances revealed that his military training is far lacking that of a Chief of Staff. Mutsekwa disclosed that, immediately after Chedondo’ speech, he received numerous calls from some of the troops in Mutoko, who indicated they support political change.

“I am telling you the truth. Immediately after his address, some of the troops were on the phone to me saying the rank and file members of the ZDF are for change,” Mutsekwa, a former major in the army said.

He added: “He’s (Chedondo) exposed himself as a person who has never gone through the mills and has not been able to be accommodated and trained as senior officers should be.”

The Mutare North MP told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that a person like Chedondo remains a political soldier whose ascendency to the position Chief of Staff exposes the manner in which promotions and appointments are done in the ZDF.

“Through that statement, Major General Chedondo is not worth being a field rank at all. What such statements inform us is that the few rogue elements in the ZDF and police have now come to realize that the inevitable is coming, that a new government is going to be ushered by the people of Zimbabwe,” Mutswekwa said.

The MP continued: “That new government is going to be formed by the Movement for Democratic Change and they are damn scared about that. They know what they’ve said before, they know what they’ve done before and this is why you see them panicking.”

He added: “This is why they’re issuing these statements in the hope that they would scare away voters in the next elections. But that is not going to work. He’s wasting his time by issuing nonsensical statements like that.”

Mutsekwa recounted a similar situation in 2002 when military generals issued a statement in support of Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF before denouncing Tsvangirai for lacking liberation war credentials.

“Even after this statement, people still voted Morgan Tsvangirai. They also had the same threatening words in 2008 but Mugabe lost that election and if they think this particular time they’re going scare voters again, it is a complete waste of time. Tsvangirai is going to win overwhelmingly,” he said.

In the past the MDC has accused the military junta of effectively running Zimbabwe. Chedondo’s statements came days after reports suggested securocrats were increasingly tightening their grip on ZANU PF amid indications several members of the CIO, police and retired army officers are lining up to become candidates in the next general elections. – SW Radio Africa News

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