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ZIMCET : Partisan utterances by members of the army: a threat to peace

'I have heard much concern expressed about the role of the military, including a recent statement by one of the country's most senior army officers suggesting   that the army should throw its weight behind one political party - when for any country to be called a democracy, its army must observe strict political neutrality. As the GPA clearly says, "State organs and institutions do not belong to any political party and should be impartial in the discharge of their duties."' United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights press statement, 25 May 2012, Harare.

Barely two weeks after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay visited the country to assess the human rights situation and clearly stating that the army should stay away from politics and be confined to the barracks, a senior army officer Major General Trust Mugoba made headlines to the contrary. Addressing mourners at the funeral of the late Lieutenant-Colonel Thabani Khumalo, Major General Trust Mugoba reportedly said that military ideology is best represented in ZANU PF's mission. The disturbing utterances come just weeks after another senior army chef; Major General Martin Chedondo openly said military officials should be allowed to participate in political activities.

Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET) as an organisation is of the view that such utterances are irresponsible and inimical to the values of peace, democracy and development in Zimbabwe. As the nation draws close to an election, such statements cause mayhem and further threaten the sovereignty of the vote and the will of ordinary Zimbabweans especially in light of impending elections. It is our view that in a democratic and developmental state, the National Army must see itself at the service of the people and not as the supreme power within the state, neither should it view itself as a wing of a political party.   ZIMCET appeals to members of the army to uphold their mandate as prescribed by Zimbabwe's constitution and the international normative human rights and democracy framework.

 

ZIMCET advocates for an empowered, peaceful Zimbabwean society conscious of its rights and obligations through full participation in the socio-economic, political, civic and cultural development.

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