Innocent Ruwende, Harare Bureau
Elections have come and gone and it is now time for Zimbabweans to unite and rebuild the country, while those who lost should be gracious and congratulate the winners as there are no miracles in politics, Vice President and Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Constantino Chiwenga has said.
MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa has refused to accept the results of the July 30 presidential election won by President Mnangagwa and claims to have evidence the polls were rigged in favour of Zanu-PF by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
In an interview yesterday ahead of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day today, VP Chiwenga said Zimbabweans should rise to the occasion and negate anything which brings instability in the country.
“On the issue of elections, I think you have heard even his Excellency President Mnangagwa saying that elections are over and we want to go ahead with development,” he said. “If you go into a race, you must know that there are two things you are going to meet, either you win or you lose.
“You can go into a race knowing that you are going to lose because in an election there are no miracles. Don’t expect miracles and luck. In a game of politics, it is the message you are giving to the electorate that matters. Does that message convince the electorate? What is it that you have done which you can say to the electorate vote me for the next five years?
“Zimbabweans must rise to the occasion. We must negate anything which brings instability and problems into our country. Be peaceful and hard-working and convince ourselves in our minds that no one will come and build this country, but ourselves.”
VP Chiwenga said those who lost must be gracious and congratulate the winners, and join the rest of Zimbabweans in building the country.
He said the country’s liberation struggle was fought to bring unity and peace.
Speaking on the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day, VP Chiwenga outlined the contribution made by the force to regional and international peace.
“The Zimbabwe Defence Forces has a rich history of contributing to international peace and security dating back to 1991 when the United Nations (UN) extended its maiden request to Zimbabwe to contribute troops to the Peacekeeping Mission in Angola (UNAVEM I),” he said.
“In a show of confidence and appreciation of the professional manner in which the ZDF had acquitted itself in the Mission, the United Nations twice renewed the Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ mandate in Angola under UNAVEM II and III, which lasted up to 1997.”
VP Chiwenga outlined the missions carried by the ZDF in Somalia in 1991, where the force was responsible for coordinating humanitarian assistance, monitoring the ceasefire, safeguarding, as well as distributing relief supplies.
In 1993, he said, Zimbabwe received yet another invitation from the world body to contribute troops to the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda (UMAMIR), where the mission was responsible for monitoring the ceasefire and implement the peace agreement between Rwanda Patriotic Front and the Government.
VP Chiwenga said following the success in the above stated missions, the ZDF was subsequently invited to deploy military observers in other UN Peacekeeping Missions in countries including Burundi, Sudan, Liberia, Nepal, South Sudan and Cote d’Ivoire.
“My view is that current regional cooperation arrangements by our defence forces be maintained and strengthened where necessary to enhance peace and security in the region and beyond,” he said. “Military training cooperation undertaken by the defence forces in the region has gone a long way in fostering peace, security and stability.
“Zimbabwe has always opened her reputable training establishments such as the Zimbabwe Staff College, School of Academic and Staff Training, the Zimbabwe Military Academy, All Arms Battle School and others to members of other regional defence forces to enhance training cooperation.”
VP Chiwenga said in addition to these traditional training institutions, Zimbabwe also opened the Zimbabwe National Defence University as the highest institution of military and academic excellence to further enhance such training initiatives.
He said that was in line with his vision of achieving a secure regional environment through enhanced military cooperation in the region and beyond.