EDITORIAL COMMENT: Army should be hailed for ushering in forward-looking dispensation

General Constantino Chiwenga

General Constantino Chiwenga

After accounting for elements that were compromising the then President, Cde Robert Mugabe and giving the masses an opportunity to express themselves against the ruling class, soldiers officially returned to their barracks yesterday.

Theirs is a triumphant return after 36 dramatic days that started with a stringing rebuke on Zanu-PF and Cde Mugabe by Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Constantino Chiwenga. Army tanks started rolling out of cantonments into central Harare in the evening of November 14 and took positions at strategic places in the capital. A day earlier, Gen Chiwenga had held a Press conference at which he warned that soldiers could be forced to step in if the disorder and impunity that was prevailing in Zanu-PF and Government continued.

He said the purges that were happening in the ruling party and Government that were being orchestrated by the G40 cabal of counter-revolutionary elements around Cde Mugabe must stop. The cabal actually dared him, sending one of their minions to publicly attack Gen Chiwenga.  This precipitated the stepping in by the military.

No one will forget the sight of Major-General Sibusiso Moyo on national television at dawn on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. The sight of the assured general flanked by Air Vice-Marshal Jacob Nzvede, updating the world on the developments of the military operation will, for generations, undoubtedly endure in the hearts and minds of all of us who witnessed history being made.

“To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of Government,” said Maj-Gen Moyo, now the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

“What the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country which if not addressed may result in violent conflict. We wish to assure the nation that His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde RG Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed. We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice. As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”

Two days later nine of Zanu-PF’s 10 provincial co-ordinating committees voted to recall Cde Mugabe and expulsion from the party of toxic elements around him including his wife Grace, then Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Patrick Zhuwawo, Ignatius Chombo, Kudzanai Chipanga and others.  The following day, the 10th province, Matabeleland North, followed suit. They also demanded the holding of a special Central Committee meeting of the party to implement their resolutions.

On Saturday, November 18, what ranks as probably the biggest demonstration ever staged in our country happened in Harare, Bulawayo and elsewhere as the masses demanded that Cde Mugabe resigns. The following day, the special Central Committee meeting was held at the ruling party headquarters in Harare.

Cde Mugabe was recalled and replaced by Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa as party President and First Secretary.

The meeting also asked him to resign and if he refused, Parliament was going to begin impeachment proceedings.

He appeared to want to fight because later on, he appeared on national television. He shocked the nation and world which expected him to announce his resignation when he merely acknowledged the concerns of the military and the people but did not even mention his formal recall by the party a few hours earlier. He actually declared he was looking forward to the party’s extra-ordinary congress “which I would chair!”

Zanu-PF pressed on and on Tuesday, November 21, impeachment proceedings started. Earlier in the day Cabinet ministers had snubbed Cde Mugabe.

Facing the ignominy of impeachment Cde Mugabe resigned, sending millions across the country, and world, into delirium. Cde Mnangagwa, whom he had sacked on November 6, and forced into exile, returned exactly 16 days later to assume the reins of the party. November 24 was Cde Mnangagwa’s swearing in as State President and a few days later he unveiled his Cabinet.

The takeover was cemented on Friday last week when the Zanu-PF Extra-Ordinary Congress endorsed the recall of Cde Mugabe and installed Cde Mnangagwa as party leader and its presidential candidate for elections next year.

“As a result of these political developments, normalcy has returned to our country,” said Zimbabwe National Army Commander, Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda yesterday. “It is for this reason that as your Defence and Security Services we announce the end of ‘Operation Restore Legacy’ today, the 18 December 2017.”

The masterminds of the G40 group of excitable political upstarts are scattered everywhere, some are in and out of court and police cells in Harare while others are shaking in their hideouts abroad.

Cde Mugabe’s legacy remains intact. We, however, have every reason to believe that, if the ZDF had not stepped in and G40 allowed to continue with their mischief, it could have been a lot different. He is one of the founding fathers of the nation. He is a free man in his country that he led with distinction for 37 years.

However, we must acknowledge that he made a number of mistakes that led to his resignation.

It indeed, was a dramatic 36 days for our country which have ushered in a new political dispensation that is more forward-looking and has renewed hopes for a better economic situation for all of us.

 

Article Source: The Chronicle