Citizens View Military As Enemy Of Political Transition – Report

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By Staff Reporter

MILITARISATION has worsened in the post-Robert Mugabe era with citizens having to fear the military and deter them from exercising their constitutional rights, a Zimbabwe Democratic Institute (ZDI) report has revealed.

Dubbed the “Transition Politics in Post In The Post Mugabe Era”, the report explores public perception about the role of military in the Zimbabwe`s politics under President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

According to the report, the voice of the military cuts across all pillars of transitional politics and rules supreme.

“This then plays out in the decision Zimbabweans make around civic engagements, and their perception of how free and fair Zimbabwe’s democratic processes are,” said ZDI.

Semi-structured interviews with 500 respondents, the researchers discovered that 62% of the people interviewed responded they feared the military, and this has deterred them from participating in demonstrations.

“82% perceive that President Emmerson Mnangagwa dispensation has worsened the use of brutal force on protesters, journalists, opposition, and citizens in general.

“76% stated that most citizens view the military as an enemy of political transition while 77% perceived the military as prohibiting the freeness and fairness of other electoral environment,” said ZDI.

The study found the militarisation of Zimbabwe has deepened with the military playing a role in five political roles.

“These processes include elections, freedom of expression and civic engagement, the judiciary, the legislative process and politics of farms.

“Of these, the elections were believed to be the most important process in political transition. Respondents referred to threatening messages by members of the security forces during elections, the presence of military in communities during elections.

“Zanu PF/military deterrence of opposition votes, the role of security sector in Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, and close connection between Zanu PF and members of the security forces as all compromising the perception of free and fair elections, “said ZDI.

The study also pointed out the military is the decisive power bloc determining the outcome of transitional politics in the country.

“Given the military assistance in the overthrow of former President Mugabe, a relook into the role of military in political transition became necessary. ZDI, therefore, conducted this study to interrogate the role of military in post Mugabe political order given its ubiquitous role in the past, “said ZDI.

The research was done through a survey of public perception on the subject, analysis of public actions, inactions and positions of the military in issues of transitions.

“Understanding the role of military as a central lynchpin in transitional politics in Zimbabwe goes a long way in informing citizen’s agency and democratic consolidation efforts in the country,” said ZDI.