ZPP Blasts Mphoko For Inviting Military On Zanu PF Wars

Tuesday, 25 April 2017  Radio VOP

HARARE – A top rights group has slammed Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko for perceived calls on the country’s military to intervene in Zanu PF’s worsening factional wars.

The Zanu PF fall-out has seen supporters of rival groups involved in violent clashes leading to injuries.

It has turned out President Robert Mugabe was failing to stamp his authority on party rivals involved in bare knuckle fights as the battle for party control ahead of his much anticipated exit from politics gets more tense.

Mphoko, who doubles as National Healing minister, was speaking at a meeting with former Zipra and Zapu members at Castle Arms Motel in Bulawayo weekend,

He questioned why security forces were not taking action when their Commander-in-Chief, President Mugabe was being insulted by a group of war veterans aligned to war veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa.

“He is the Head of the State and in military he is the Commander-in-Chief. How is the military feeling when their Commander-in-Chief is being dangled like a thing?” Mphoko asked.

But the VP’s comments on the military to take active involvement in the skirmishes has failed to amuse the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) which insists the country armed forces had no business in partisan civilian affairs.

In a statement, ZPP said Mphoko should follow the country’s constitution which says the military must be apolitical and shall remain subordinate to a 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,” said ZPP.

“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 are unlawful.”

ZPP said often during the times the military has been involved in civilian affairs, the outcome has been grave.

The group cited the government sanctioned Gukurahundi atrocities in the 1980s in which an estimated 20 000 civilians died, and lately, the 2008 presidential run-off elections which left over 200 opposition supporters dead.

“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,” said teh group.

“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.”

ZPP said the country’s military must be seen to be serving all citizens equally since other political parties were not so privileged so as to summon military intervention into their own affairs.

Zanu PF has come under fire in the past for deploying soldiers during its primary elections for the 2013 harmonised elections.

Controversial Masvingo provincial affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa last year also called on the army to assume a more active role in restoring order within Zanu PF.

channelZim on twitter