Hooliganism runs amok

Visitors to this country who witnessed the chaos caused by soldiers and central intelligence personnel last week could be forgiven for assuming that there was no political leadership in Zimbabwe. It looked like some people were clearly doing whatever they wanted to do.

Soldiers and CIO agents raided the venues where census enumerators were being trained and demanded to be included in the supposedly lucrative exercise. This was absurd since most of them had not been invited to the training. One school of thought argues that this was a Zanu (PF) scheme to highjack or rig the census results.

The inclusion of soldiers and CIO agents was intended to appease these impoverished securocrats and make them view Zanu (PF) as having their interests at heart. In the light of the forthcoming elections, this would be a major coup on the former liberation movement’s part. Fortunately for this nation, the whole scheme was shattered when the training was suspended.

The second school of thought is that the securocrats were simply attempting to get a little money to augment the pittance they are paid by the state. But in their attempt they ended up threatening civil servants, who are equally poorly paid. The acting minister of Finance must be commend for putting his foot down and insisting that the securocrats must only count people in their bases and camps, and not be involved in the counting of civilians.

This decision had been agreed to by Cabinet, but its enforcement had not been effective for the obvious political partisan reasons. A third school of thought says that the securocrats were acting on the orders of their seniors who are desperate to send a message to politicians that they are not at all happy about the Copac constitution draft.

The results of the forthcoming census will be critical of both the referendum and the 2013 elections. In other words, this was a show of force by the securocrats that civilians will not have their way in matters of national governance in this country.

The trouble is not quite over yet. There is still the possibility that the same hooligan elements may disrupt the census process as well as the forthcoming referendum. Should this happen, we can rest assured that the 2013 elections will most likely be interfered with also by the same lawless hirelings. This will set this nation back to the disastrous situation that existed in 2008. No sane Zimbabwean could ever wish for that.

Reports that some of the Zanu (PF) proposed amendments to the Copac draft are aimed at providing our security forces with a role to play in the governance of the nation are disturbing, to say the least. We remember how some military figures attempted to participate in the writing of the draft constitution until they were exposed and expelled. The battle for the soul of this nation is far from being over.

So, what can be done to keep these elements in check? Is it not pathetic that the Zanu (PF) Politburo has spent three nights revising the Copac draft to suit their partisan interests? This is despite the fact that their own representatives actively participated in the Copac process and agreed with all the contents of that document.

The MDC formations must put their foot down and refuse to negotiate any further on the Copac draft. Securocrats must be informed that they are free to participate in civilian matters if and when they leave the security sector. They must not be treated with kid gloves. They are not more special than any other citizen of this country.

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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