Rising cases of illegal activities by the military a concern
The starting point is that the military must stick to responsibilities stated in section 212 of the constitution.
“The function of the Defence Forces is to protect Zimbabwe, its people, its national security and interests and its territorial integrity and to uphold this Constitution.”
The People’s Democratic Party is of the view that the challenges the nation is facing around eradicating a police state must not be compounded or magnified by introducing a Military/Police hybrid state.
In days gone by cases of illegal acts by army men have been on the rise, Zimbabweans are now living in fear.
In Kwekwe, PDP Secretary General Settlement Chikwinya met and spoke with victims who were brutalised by soldiers ironically for failure to produce voter registration slips.
The exercise of political rights is voluntary in fact it is implicit in section 67(b) that Zimbabweans have the right to make political choices freely, these choices include the right to abstain from an election.
When members of the Defence forces act in the interest of political parties they cease to be in adherence with section 208 of the constitution.
“Neither the security services nor any of their members may, in the exercise of their functions: act in a partisan manner; further the interests of any political party or cause; prejudice the lawful interests of any political party or cause.”
We view the request for voter registration slips by members of the armed services as a direct participation in activities of a partisan nature, it exposes the President’s rhetoric about an intention to ensure a free and fair election.
More importantly the continuous stay of members of the security forces in the streets demonstrates the administration’s failure to uphold the constitution and to abide by the dictates of the constitution.
“When the Defence Forces are deployed in Zimbabwe to assist in the maintenance of public order; or outside Zimbabwe; the President must cause Parliament to be informed, promptly and in appropriate detail, of the reasons for their deployment and where they are deployed.”
As a matter of fact the President was sworn in when the army was already in the streets, Zimbabweans expected him to take over the control of operational use of the forces as dictated by the constitution.
Secondly if the President saw it fit to maintain the presence of the forces in the streets he must have allowed parliamentary scrutiny of their deployment by informing the legislature, the PDP is suspicious of his failure to do so.
More importantly members of the public ought to have been told of what exactly the military would be doing in the streets beyond the vague statement made by the police spokesperson.
What we have witnessed so far is the failure to abide by the demands of the law by those deployed or those who also purport to have been deployed.
“The Defence Forces must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by this Constitution.”
In the absence of the an Independent complains mechanism provided for in section 210 of the constitution, the lives of Zimbabweans are even in a more dangerous situation, the best way is to ensure the forces return to the barracks.
The balance sheet reflects that the state has no mechanism to combat mischief by members of the ZDF who are on this unconstitutional and unprocedural operation.
The spin by ZANUPF propagandists that those who have been identified as having committed criminal acts are rogue elements funded by the so called G40 is an admission to this fact.
We view the human rights violations by members of the ZDF as a betrayal of the spirit displayed by Zimbabweans on the 18th of November.
Marching with soldiers with their guns and tanks was an expression of a desire to renegotiate a mutual relationship of respect between the citizens, those in power and with power itself.
This was a dream at the gates of dawn yet facing early sunset. We hope those responsible will lend us an ear or continue to self-destruct the same way Mugabe did.
Together Another Zimbabwe is Possible