Fear in not an option
Zimbabweans United for Democracy ... Determining our own future ... We demand real change ... Fear is not an option ... Tiri kuvaka ramangwana redu ... Tinoda sanduko chaiyo ... Hatichatya ... Siyakha elakusasa lethu ... Sifuna inguquko yobala ... Asikhethi ukwesaba ...

 

Zimbabwe's Generals must heed the voice of citizens

by David Mutori and Benjamin Paradza
27 April 2017

 

Soldiers Don't shoot! We are just unarmed citizens!

All we are trying to do is abide by Zimbabwe's democratic Constitution that binds us all (including yourselves). However, we are increasingly confused by statements from your top ranks. General Constantine Chiwenga

Recent media statements by Zimbabwe's generals create the impression that there is a huge chasm between the generals' view and that of ordinary citizens. The statements that are clearly addressed to citizens have left us confused about whose interests the generals are serving and which Constitution they are defending. Worse still, since the Commander-in-Chief has not rebuked his generals, we have to assume that he supports their views. We, the citizens of Zimbabwe, are deeply concerned.

There are fundamental problems with the view that only generals determine what is in the national interest and therefore approve who and who should not lead the country and still insist that they are abiding by the national Constitution. We question the very idea that only those who went to war can lead Zimbabwe: - that view is a violation of the democratic principles in our Constitution and was never the objective of the liberation struggle! Our Constitution talks about freedoms - not about straightjackets, warnings and consequences imposed by the military.

It is clear that some of our generals believe that their job includes taking command of citizens. However the mechanism through which our leaders communicate with us is governed by the Constitution (our contract with each other). Constitutionally, the military answers to the parliament and the parliament answers to the people. In the interest of national dialogue, we request the generals to clarify their views via our representatives which are the parliamentary committees responsible for security. However, before they do, and in order for us to have confidence in the generals, we feel that each one must make a conflict of interest declaration to reassure us that their role as our soldiers is not compromised by their other interests. We need reassurance that they are speaking to us as soldiers who serve the people. Such a conflict of interest declaration must answer the following questions:

1.    Are you a member of a political party?

2.    When you make announcements to the public, are you speaking as a representative of our army or as a representative of the political party that you support?

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