By Lance Guma
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HARARE – Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has claimed soldiers in Zimbabwe are free to support political parties of their choice, but cannot hold positions within the structures of those parties.
“We went to war for us to have power to control the direction of politics in this country. Soldiers are free to vote for any political party and what they are not allowed to do is to hold positions in political parties,” he said in an interview.
“Political parties should come up with good manifestos and individual soldiers are free to vote for any party which they think has a constructive policy.” The statement would have been commendable were it not brazenly hypocritical.
Only last year in December a Gwanda-based police officer Assistant Inspector William Mutsago was branded ‘a danger to society’ and sacked from his job for allegedly possessing a picture of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mutsago, who was based at Gwanda Police Station in Matabeleland South, explained that he was not responsible for the picture, which was saved on a memory card. He was nevertheless fired without compensation.
During a ‘kangaroo court’ hearing, Mutsago had argued that he was not the sole user of the memory card which was also used by other staff, including those in the press and public relations department.
Despite protesting his innocence, Gwanda Police Station wrote to the Public Service Commission calling for Mutsago to be blacklisted across public sector departments, describing him as a “danger to society”.
Mutsago’s wife, a constable also based at Gwanda station, was said to be awaiting a ruling on an appeal she lodged after she was charged with the same offence. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights were handling the cases.
In 2011, another police officer was fired for playing Simudza Ngerengere, a song by MDC-T parliamentarian Paul Madzore. Assistant Inspector Tedious Chisango, who was stationed at Ntabazinduna just outside Bulawayo, was accused of “teaching police recruits on regime change”.
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