The Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) has refuted allegations that it will rig the 30 July elections saying it supports President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF.
The opposition MDC Alliance alleged during its protest march last month that the army was deployed to Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission and at opposition campaign rallies.
The army told the media in Harare that if serving members were participating in political campaigns they were doing so illegally, and will be disciplined. Staying in the barracks, the Zimbabwe Defence Force says no soldiers have been ordered to intimidate people in rural areas into voting for some political parties.
The reports are mischievous. “If some serving members are participating in the on-going political campaigns, they are doing so illegally and not as a result of an instruction from commanders. Those with information on such misconduct must provide us with full details of such individuals for appropriate disciplinary action to be taken against them,” says ZDF’s Colonel Overson Mugwisi.
On a charm offensive, the army detailed its current deployments that include clearing of landmines, parks’ rangers and construction of schools and clinics. It says it has no direct role in the upcoming 30 July elections.
“ Our role in the elections is mainly to support the Zimbabwe Republic Police in their role of the maintenance of law and order in the country before, during and after the harmonised elections, we also remain ready to support the the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with transport.”
The army says soldiers will only be seen at political events attended by VIP’s assumingly for security, and humanitarian work. While soldiers have the right to vote they have been reminded they cannot hold political positions unless they are retired.
The opposition has welcomed this. “They have been saluting not Nelson Chamisa but the authority I carry so I am not worried they are a patriotic army in fact I respect them, if there is one thing that tickles me it is the honour of our men and boys in uniform, they are my agenda number one they are not getting what is commensurate with the smart work they are doing, I have no problem with soldiers,” says MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa.
Southern African Development Community is confident the blast in Bulawayo was an isolated incident . “ I’ve had extensive discussions with President Mnangagwa soon after the hand grenade explosion as well as during the summit, I think those who sought to attack and kill were making an assault on democracy, we are pleased that he survived, it seems that it was a once off, otherwise I am confident that they will have a peaceful election,” says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
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