ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai, has reportedly warned the country’s armed forces against threatening the country’s opposition.
This follows threats reportedly made by the commander of Zimbabwe’s presidential guard, Brigadier General Anselem Sanyatwe, against those opposed to President Robert Mugabe, including ousted vice president Joice Mujuru.
Sanyatwe was in the news last week, with the Zimbabwe Independent saying he threatened to use violent tactics to stop Mujuru after she launched her manifesto in a development seen as an indication she might contest the 2018 presidential elections.
Mujuru was kicked out of the ruling Zanu-PF party last year, together with other senior party officials, following allegations of plotting against Mugabe.
Mujuru denied the allegations.
“Professionalism is over and many of you are wondering what is happening in the country. I do not want you to hear through the grapevine or read in the newspapers but the animal called Zanu-PF shall rule forever and that is the reason I am saying forward with Zanu PF! Forward with President Robert Mugabe! Down with Joice Mujuru!” Sanyatwe was quoted as saying.
Sanyatwe’s threats came after Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) commander Lieutenant General Phillip Valerio Sibanda warned the army would crush external and internal enemies of the state, including the opposition, the report said.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Sibanda said the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) was ready to deal with any threat against the country.
Sibanda said the ZDF had a constitutional mandate to protect civilian power, central government and local authorities.
“The ZDF stands ready to defend Zimbabwe against any major incursion by any aggressor… A case in point is the 2007 attempt by the MDC to topple a constitutionally elected head of state and government in an operation dubbed ‘final push’. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) foiled the operation as it contravened the dictates of the constitution of Zimbabwe,” Sibanda was quoted as saying.
But MDC’s Kuwadzana East Member of Parliament, Nelson Chamisa, warned the army to “watch what they say”, a New Zimbabwe.com report said.
“We are watching you and there are people taking note of everything that is happening. If you threaten the people, remember administrations change and you will be called to account for your actions,” the report quoted Chamisa as saying.
The Zimbabwe national army has been fingered in a litany of human rights abuses, murders and disappearances in the name of defending Mugabe’s administration, the report said.