THE MDC Alliance says Zanu PF`s rhetoric that it will hand over power if defeated in the upcoming elections is hollow if similar assurances do not come from the Zimbabwe National Army.
Zimbabwe’s military was the force behind the toppling of former president Robert Mugabe and had, ahead of the coup, been on record declaring that it will not salute any leader who did not fight in the country`s liberation war.
The military is also believed to have blocked MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai from taking over power in 2008 after defeating Mugabe in the presidential elections.
The Alliance fronted by a fresh faced Nelson Chamisa who is now the MDC-T President needs strong assurances from all state apparatus that there will be power transfer in the event that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is defeated in the July polls.
Despite Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Retired Major General Sibusiso Moyo, assuring the international community while making a presentation at Chatham House in the United Kingdom on Monday, that President Mnangagwa, if defeated at the forthcoming polls, will concede defeat and peacefully hand over power to the winner, the Alliance said more needs to be done to convince the opposition.
“While we appreciate that this statement represents progress from a functionary of Zanu PF and a former military strongman who was the face of the military coup which overthrew former President Robert Mugabe, that undertaking is not adequate,” said Professor Welshman Ncube, the MDC Alliance spokesperson.
“What is required and would be enough is a statement from the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Valerio Sibanda, made here in Zimbabwe and addressed to the citizens of Zimbabwe making an unequivocal and unconditional undertaking to the people that the military recognises and accepts the sovereignty of the people of Zimbabwe to freely choose their government and that once they have done so the armed forces will not only fully respect the decision of the people but will in fact defend and protect that decision”.
Professor Ncube added that the army should also withdraw its personnel deployed in rural areas “as part of the Zanu PF election strategy”.
“Equally, President Mnangagwa in his capacity as President and First Secretary of Zanu PF must instruct all Zanu PF functionaries including traditional leaders to immediately stop demanding from voters voter registration slips and also stop the attendant intimidation thereof,” he said.