DEFENCE Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has blamed the recent disturbances in Harare on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s utterances and warned that security forces will not hesitate to deal with any acts of violence meant to destabilise the country.
Minister Mnangagwa said this on the sidelines of a farewell reception held for five retiring general and senior officers from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces last Friday night.
The retired officers are Air Marshall Henry Muche-na, Major Generals Sibangamuzi Khumalo and Etherton Shungu, Colonel Resten Magumise and Group Captain Sithabile Sibanda.
“As far as we are concerned, the violence that erupted in Harare was caused by the Prime Minister’s remarks that what happened in Tunisia and what is happening in Egypt right now should also happen in Zimbabwe.
“As Zanu-PF we are surprised that a Prime Minister of a nation would wish for such to happen to a Government which he is also part of. Fortunately our police force reacted swiftly and thwarted the chaos. Our police force has been instructed to deal with any acts of violence that might occur,” he said.
Last week PM Tsvangirai said it was possible for Zimbabwe to go through what happened in Tunisia and in Egypt. Former Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was toppled three weeks ago after protests by the public and Egyptians are currently demonstrating against President Hosni Mubarak calling on him to step down.
Minister Mnangagwa said the three parties in the inclusive Government had met on Wednesday and agreed to go on radio and television to denounce violence.
“We met as parties in the GPA on Wednesday and agreed that we will all go on radio and television to conscientise our supporters that there should be no violence. Zimbabweans are a peace-loving people and those with violent inclinations would be dealt with accordingly. What is happening in Egypt and Tunisia is internal to them and will not be replicated in Zimbabwe,” said Minister Mnangagwa.
On the retiring generals and officers, Minister Mnangagwa commended them for serving the country with dedication from the period of the liberation struggle and after independence.
He urged the retired officers to continue serving the nation in their new endeavours.
“The nation has invested much in you through the many courses of study you have attended at various academies, staff colleges and colleges of defence studies where you covered many facets of Government and policy.
“It is thus incumbent upon you to pay back to the nation by sharing that knowledge, ability and skill for the preservation of our country’s independence, sovereignty and equality among nations, well aware of the yesteryear colonisers’ desire to influence the course of our destiny to their advantage,” he said.
Minister Mnangagwa said there was nothing wrong in the retired officers venturing into politics.
“By the way there are some ill-informed citizens of our country who think that ex-military service persons should not be in politics. To the contrary, one has retired from active service, one can freely participate in politics at whatever level,” he said, urging serving members to emulate the dedication of the retired generals and officers.
Retired Air Marshall Muchena said they were proud of their service to the country and said they would continue doing so given the country’s former colonisers were still trying to assert their influence on the country.
“Peace in Zimbabwe is paramount to the prosperity of Zimbabwe and all endeavours must be made to defend our economic interests.
Our adversaries have not rested to perpetuate their desires to try and destabilise Zimbabwe directly through their proxies. Our re-entrance into the Zanu-PF political arena is a continuation of the struggle that we involved ourselves since we left school. While this time around we will not have guns we will ensure that the ballot becomes a loyal substitute and not a rival of the interests of the people of this country,” said Retired Air Marshall Muchena.