Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Tsvangirai reaches out to security forces

By Paidamoyo Muzulu

HARARE – Main opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday extended an olive branch to the country’s “securocrats” and assured them that his party, if elected into government in 2018, would retain them despite their divergent political views.

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai

Tsvangirai, who served as coalition government Prime Minister until September 2013, gave the assurances in his Heroes and Defence Forces Day message.

“For the record, I as Morgan Tsvangirai and the party I lead will not create a new army, a new police force and a new intelligence unit. We will depend on the patriotic sons and daughters of this country who continue to serve their country in these security institutions with both honour and distinction,” Tsvangirai said.

The opposition leader, who has had an uneasy relationship with the security chiefs since the formation of the MDC-T in 1999, said his party understood that the security structures were national institutions committed to strictly abiding by their roles and responsibility as stipulated in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

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His fallout with securocrats escalated in 2002 when the latter declared that they would not recognise Tsvangirai even if he won the presidential race.

Yesterday Tsvangirai warned the army against delving in party politics.

“What some in the army did in 2008 remains a shame beneath the dignity and mandate of a national Defence Forces and the active participation in the subversion of the people’s will through outright violence and assaults was beyond the mandate of a professional soldier sworn to defending the country’s citizens and their rights,” he said.

In the statement, Tsvangirai reaffirmed his party’s respect of the liberation struggle ideals and those who fought for the country’s independence.

“Indeed, the MDC is a proud post-liberation movement, not opposed to the sanctity of our previous struggle but formed merely to complete the unfinished business that remains outstanding to this day,” he said.

“We realise, as a proud post-colonial movement that independence came through blood, sweat and tears and we salute all those who took part in it, especially those that paid the ultimate price,” he added. NewsDay