ZIMBABWEANS should remain calm and continue with their normal business while the ongoing political situation is resolved for the good of the nation.
On Wednesday morning, the country woke up to an announcement that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have stepped in to weed out criminal elements from the ruling Zanu-PF party who were surrounding the President and engaging in activities meant to destabilise the Government and destroy the revolutionary movement from within.
On Monday, the Commander of the ZDF, General Constantino Chiwenga, had warned that the military would be forced to step in if the ongoing purges within Zanu-PF aimed at removing cadres with struggle credentials were not stopped.
The ZDF subsequently made good on its warning with its spokesman, Major General Sibusiso Moyo, announcing in a statement on ZBCtv that the army had not staged a coup and President Mugabe and his family were safe. “Fellow Zimbabweans, following the address we made on 13 November 2017 which we believe our main broadcaster, ZBC and The Herald, were directed not to publicise, the situation in our country has moved to another level,” he said.
“First, we wish to assure the nation that His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde R.G Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed. We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice. As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”
Maj Gen Moyo said the army was against plans by the said criminal elements to influence the extension of purges going on in Zanu-PF to the civil service. “We are against that act of injustice and we intend to protect every one of you against it,” he said.
It is clear that the ZDF has been forced to take this unprecedented move of stepping in to resolve civilian matters because as a military born out of the protracted struggle for independence, it is well invested in the affairs of Zanu-PF — the party that prosecuted that struggle. In his address on Monday, Gen Chiwenga said it was with “humility” and a “heavy heart” that they were coming before the nation to pronounce the indisputable reality that there is instability in Zanu-PF today and as a result anxiety in the country at large.
He also said it was pertinent to restate that the ZDF remain the major stockholder in respect to the gains of the liberation struggle and when these are threatened they were obliged to take corrective measures. “Therefore, it is common cause that any instability within the Party naturally impacts on their social, political and economic lives, accordingly, there is distress, trepidation and despondence within the nation,” said Gen Chiwenga.
“Our peace-loving people who have stood by their Government and endured some of the most trying social and economic conditions ever experienced are extremely disturbed by what is happening within the ranks of the national revolutionary Party.
“What is obtaining in the revolutionary Party is a direct result of the machinations of counter- revolutionaries who have infiltrated the Party and whose agenda is to destroy it from within. It is saddening to see our revolution being hijacked by agents of our erstwhile enemies who are now at the brink of returning our country to foreign domination against which so many of our people perished”.
The ZDF are a disciplined army with a proven track record and Zimbabweans were certainly taken aback by the events which unfolded in the early hours of Wednesday since the country has no history of the army interfering in civilian matters. However, following the explanation by the ZDF that they certainly are not interested in staging a coup, the nation appears to have been reassured with people going about their business in a normal way while awaiting a resolution of the issue.
What is the key in this whole matter is the enduring message from the ZDF — it is reclaiming the revolution from counter-revolutionaries who were bent on destroying the party from within. The army is clearly concerned about the purging of some of their colleagues whom they fought with in the struggle from the party they founded and nurtured for so long.
As stockholders of the struggle, they were alarmed by the direction the party was taking and in such extraordinary times, there was a need for an intervention that would ensure that the counter-revolutionaries were stopped dead in their tracks.
So far they have made sure that their Commander-in-Chief, President Mugabe, is safe but they are determined to ensure that the counter-revolutionaries they accuse of corruption and seeking to destroy Zanu-PF, pay for their alleged crimes.