Dabengwa dismisses security commanders’ threats

ZAPU President, Dumiso Dabengwa, has dismissed the threat posed by security services chiefs in the Harare-run up to the elections.

The ZAPU president and former Zanu (PF) politburo member and cabinet minister told a media briefing in Harare today that he did not see the threat from the commanders materialising.

“I think the issue of a threat that hangs over the power that the security sector might have is no threat at all,” Dabengwa said.

He admitted that they may have been occasions when the security chiefs had “played that role and got away with it”.

The security chiefs have openly declared that they would neither salute nor allow an individual without liberation war credentials to assume the presidency of the country. This was in apparent reference to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

“If they tried it I don’t think they will get away with it this time. The people of Zimbabwe are clear about the role that the security sector must play.

“It is the people and those that the people have elected that must lead. That position has been strengthened by the provisions in our new constitution. I don’t see the security sector violating what is even in the constitution,” Dabengwa said.

Dabengwa, who during the liberation struggle was ZAPU’s intelligence supremo, compared the behaviour of the country’s military commanders to that of the Rhodesian forces’ chiefs.

“During the war we thought that even if we got Ian Smith to surrender the commander Peter Walls would never surrender.

“Even when I together with Josiah Tongogara tried to talk to him at the Lancaster House talks, Walls said he did not talk to terrorists. But after the war we worked together and he listened to the things we said with respect,” he said.

Dabengwa said he did not think that the commanders would risk a coup because they were aware that Africa was now united on that issue and they would not survive the sanctions from the continent.

Security sector reform has become one of the sticking points in the current impasse over elections. The MDC formations have insisted that the security chiefs must publicly declare that they would respect the will of the people before elections are held. SADC adopted this position at its recent extra-ordinary summit on Zimbabwe.

Dabengwa said his party remained open to the idea of forming a coalition with other parties before or after the elections.

“We are still talking to other parties to this day. That means we are still open to do it. We have been mandated by the party to have that discussion,” he said.

ZAPU Vice President, Emilia Mukaratirwa, speaking at the same media briefing said that her party was aware of the call by Zimbabweans for an alliance of parties to remove Zanu (PF) from the scene.

“We know that people are concerned that if we get into the election fragmented that will work to the advantage of a certain party and to the detriment of the nation. We are taking these concerns seriously.

“Negotiations do not happen in a minute. We must have a common understanding for us to have a starting point. We are aware of what the people are calling us to do,” she said.

Post published in: News
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