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BY DR MASIMBA MAVAZA
The opposition MDC and some parts of the Media have been lambasting the ZANU PF acting National Political Commissair cde Patrick Chinamasa for stating that the army works hand in hand with the ZANU PF government. The army is the part of a country’s military that fights on the ground. People in the army are called soldiers.
Soldiers do many things, from shooting enemies, to digging defensive trenches. They are used to defend their country, or attack another country’s army. Beyond warfare, the military may be employed in additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within the state, including internal security threats, population control, the promotion of a political agenda, emergency services and reconstruction, protecting corporate economic interests, social ceremonies.
The army performs many tasks that are permanently invisible to society, both in humanitarian missions and in routine activities. It is a professional, national institution, respectful of the Constitution. The Zimbabwean Army protects Zimbabwe’s interests at home and abroad, providing a safe and secure environment in which all Zimbabwean citizens can live and prosper.
On this understanding we must understand that Protecting the nation will always be the army’s first role. Highly trained Zimbabwean soldiers are ready to deploy anywhere at any time to meet a variety of challenges. This includes deploying in our streets to help where the police have failed or overwhelmed.
Ranging from support to the Police following a terrorist attack, to specialist capabilities such as bomb disposal and intelligence experts, 24 hours a day 365 days a year, they are always ready to serve Zimbabwe and its government.
Going by the definitions ahead the Army can be called up to assist the police and to protect the government of the day.
Zimbabwean Army is proud of its heritage delivering success in combat through the courage and absolute commitment of its soldiers.
A standing Army provides depth; as well as conducting complex war fighting, it is the same highly trained soldier who helps support the Health system deals with floods and trains partner forces abroad.
The Zimbabwean Army is your Army: in an uncertain world it is ever vigilant, always ready and steadfast in its commitment to the defence of Zimbabwe and its citizens. The goal of any state is to harness military professional power to serve vital national security interests, while guarding against the misuse of power that can threaten the well-being of its people.
So there is a strong tie between the army and the government and the ruling party. This the legitimises the utterances by Cd Patric Chinamasa.
Chinamasa was correct to say that any person who will try to destabilise our electoral system will face the Army. He was reminding the nation that ZANU PF takes the elections seriously and it does not allow s as nobody to derail them.
Zimbabwe has always been democratic thanks to the army. Although civil-military relations is a very broad subject, encompassing the entire range of relationships between the military and civilian society at every level, the field largely focuses on the control or direction of the military by the highest civilian authorities in nation-states.
The ‘military professional’ is one who pursues expertise in combat in service to a country’s or society’s defense. In this separatist view, such service does not require the solider to be fully integrated with civil society. Professional soldiers in a democratic society also have as part of their organizational ethos a strong disinclination to intervene in politics.
Indeed, one finds professional militaries in zimbabwe and elsewhere imbued with this separatist, professional ethic but at the same time committed as professionals to respecting constitutional government, institutions, and political processes and the people of its country.
Maintaining a positive balance in civil–military relations that supports democratic institutions and processes is never automatic, even in countries with long-standing traditions against military intervention in politics.we must remember that the soldiers are the ‘citizens’ who just happen to be in uniform.
The military is oftentimes one of the strongest institutions and people fear their strength to an extent of thinking that they are interfering when in actual fact it is their duty to see to it that the those ruling are protected.
ZANU PF and the armed forces not only have an established historical pattern of political coexistence but also have a legitimate role as proclaimed protectors of society, its culture, and even its Constitution.
ZANU OF leadership and government elites often do integrate these military elements within society. They do not buy the army off, or marginalize, or relegate them to the sidelines, they make them a viable part of the societal mainstream.
By contrast, the Swiss and Zimbabwe and ZANU PF approach is to integrate soldiers and society as fully as practicable for the government and civic purpose.
We must remember that the military in Zimbabwe so constructed that one is hard pressed to draw any meaningful distinction between the citizen and the soldier. This the approach Zimbabwe took to embrace the army and thus if we talk about the army we are talking about our citizens.
When Chinamasa talked about the army supporting us during elections he was simply saying the obvious. Supporting us to bring peace not supporting us to win elections. These are elections and not the war. When Chinamasa talked of the army he simply meant our peace keeping process during elections will be water tight.
The opposition is now Twisting what Chinamasa said and trying to use this to have more sanctions piled on our nation. ZANU PF is proud of its soldiers. ZANU OF is Zimbabwe. The relationship between Zimbabwe and its soldiers is sealed by the blood shed during the struggle. The blood of our brothers and children remove any difference between the soldier and his parents. The army is people and people are the army.
While Chinamasa talks of the army and in anyway what he said was true but misunderstood. Chinamasa is a lawyer by profession.when he referred to us winning elections in 2023 Chinamasa said we have won these elections already because the army of voters referring to Zimbabwean masses armed with a pen to vote as soldiers out to support ZANU PF. It was only the warped minds of the opposition which took the figurative speech by Chinamasa to mean that ZANU PF is plotting a coup in 2023.
Chinamasa was very clear and the opposition aided by their private media can say what they want but indeed the Zimbabweans all over the country are the army ready to vote ZANU OF in come 2023.
Zimbabweans are not surprised by the behaviour of the opposition to vilify our country at any opportunity they get.
Spinning Chinamasa’s words can not help the opposition.
Chinamasa is a seasoned politician and he will never insinuate that the army will keep ZANU PF in power. The army are the Zimbabweans at large abs we must remember that ZANU PF are people and people are ZANU PF SO ARE THE SOLDIERS. The Role of the Military in a Democracy is an ever-relevant concern which was already raised by Plato 2500 years.
The principle of political control of armed forces as we know it today is rooted in the concept of a representative democracy. It refers to the supremacy of civilian institutions, based on popular sovereignty, over the de-fense and security policy-making apparatus, including the military leadership.
Democratic control should always be a two-way process between armed forces and society. Zimbabwe has firm constitutional guarantees which protect the state – including the armed forces – from three types of potential dangers: from politicians, who have military ambitions, and from military with political ambitions and from the opposition who wants to abuse the military.
Zimbabwe practices a number of shared principles. They include indispensable prerequisites to organize and to guarantee a proper civilian direction and control of armed forces. It is the Civilian Zimbabwe government which controls the army and not vide vesa.
Zimbabwe has the existence of a clear legal and constitutional framework, defining the basic relationship between the state and the armed forces. Chinamasa is not naive and he fully understands them as a lawyer himself. ZANU PF government respects a significant role of parliament in legislating on defense and security matters, in influencing the formulation of national strategy, in contributing transparency to decisions concerning defense and security policy, in giving budget approval and in controlling spending. ZANU OF is the party which introduced the hierarchical responsibility of the military to the government through a civilian organ of public administration – a ministry of defense that is charged, as a general rule, with the direction and supervision of its activity.
The opposition must remember that the presence of a well trained and experienced military corps that is respected and funded by a civilian authority is the brain child of ZANU PF and it has been like this for the past 41 years. It acknowledges the principle of civilian control, including the principle of political neutrality and non-partisanship of the armed forces. It is the pen which is our weapon of choice and that is all Chinamasa was saying. The army being the Zimbabweans in general.
ZANU PF introduced the existence of a developed civil society, with a clear understanding of democratic institutions and values, and, as a part of the political culture, a nationwide consensus on the role and mission of their military.
Chinamasa was referring to a solid and comprehensive yardstick for the measurement of armed forces in a democracy and their political control, which allows us to turn from theoretical considerations to reality taking Zimbabwe and ZANU PF as a first example.
The relevant articles of the constitution foresee in summary the following mis-sions and roles for the Armed Forces:
To avoid any misunderstanding all over the world armed forces are the ultima ratio when police and border guard forces are not able to handle the situation in a common effort. This results in specific responsibilities and obligations for the government, the citizens and especially the soldiers.
In summary, the roles and missions of the Armed Forces are clearly defined and put into a comprehensive legal framework. The integration of the military into state and society also follows strict rules and is covered by a far-reaching set of checks and balances.
According to the Constitution, the “Armed Forces” is embedded in the system of the separation of powers. As part of the executive, the Armed Forces are bound by law and justice, and the protection of the basic human rights.
So it is surprising that the opposition blows Chinamasa’s statements out of proportion. Different from other states, the commander in chief of the Zimbabwean Armed Forces is the President a civilian and the Minister of Defense who is in charge of both civilian and military officials is again a Civilian. Thus, the fathers of the constitution have firmly anchored the Primacy of Politics in the constitution and classified the Armed Forces as belonging to the system of constitutional organs without any concession.
Despite the noise being made by the opposition Within it must be noted that the framework of the executive function of the state, the Armed Forces is subordinate to political leadership which is responsible to parliament and the citizens and this is ZANU PF. which is in the Government as an organ of the state.
The opposition must know that the army Like any other executive function of the state, they are subject to parliamentary control
Like any other function of the state, they are subject to judicial control.
The opposition must stop lying and trying to justify their wishful thinking and their dream to derail the elections again.