The constitution is clear that the military must remain apolitical. Section 211 of the constitution says that the Defence Forces must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority. Section 213 further says only the President as Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces has power to authorise the deployment of the Defence Forces in defense of Zimbabwe in support of the Police service in the maintenance of order or in support of other civilian authorities in the event of an emergency or national disaster.
It is clear that internal political party disputes do not constitute an emergency or natural disaster and any calls for the military to be used in order to curtail the rights of ordinary citizens to pursue politics is unlawful. President Mugabe is on record ordering the military not to be involved in civilian politics and Vice President Mphoko’s call flies in the face of the pronouncements.
The military has in the past intervened in political disputes particularly during the Gukurahundi atrocities and most recently in the 2008 elections with grave consequences for the citizens. Many people lost their lives while others now live with permanent scars as a result of deployment of the military to solve civilian political disputes. Military intervention would most certainly result in human rights violations for ordinary citizens.
The ZPP is deeply concerned that these utterances will not bode well for peace and stability as the 2018 elections beckon.
In the interest of peace and stability the ZPP condemns the invitation for the military to involve itself in internal ruling party politics and in civilian politics in general. Other political parties do not have the luxury of using the military to further their own political agendas and the military must be seen to be serving all citizens equally.
ZPP is a Non Governmental Organization that was founded in 2000 by a group of faith based and human rights NGOs working and interested in human rights and peace-building initiatives. ZPP has become a vehicle for civic interventions in times of political crises. In particular, ZPP seeks to monitor and document incidents of human rights violations and breaches of peace.
If you are concerned about acts of violence in your community, ZPP encourages you to get in touch with us on Hotline and WhatsApp numbers +263 774 883 406 and +263 774 883 417 Toll Free: 080 80199Post published in: Featured