HARARE – Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC is proposing a constitutional amendment to bar uniformed forces from voting in a bid to uphold their impartiality.
The new Constitution okayed in a 2013 referendum ushered in Special Vote to facilitate early voting by uniformed forces and electoral officers assigned to duty on election day.
Senior MDC official Tapiwa Mashakada said voting will make the disciplined forces prefer another candidate over another.
“Did you know that in Tunisia the land from which the Arab Spring began, uniformed forces are not allowed to vote or participate in politics? They are apolitical.
“I think we need constitutional amendment number 2 (non-partisan uniformed service).
“To me, the Tunisian case makes sense. Defence forces should be a professional force designed to uphold the Constitution and defend the country chete chete (only). Voting will make them prefer others more than others. Already there is a problem.”
Members of the Tunisian military, police and the national guard continue to be denied suffrage.
Despite the more democratic political atmosphere of post-revolution Tunisia, lawmakers have maintained the ban based on the new Constitution, which calls for impartiality of the country’s security forces.
Since gaining independence in 1956, Tunisian law has held that citizens holding posts in the security forces could not become involved in politics or vote.
In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe has maintained an iron grip on the State’s coercive capacity, with the military openly paying homage to the president’s political party, Zanu PF.
Efforts by the opposition during the GNU era to depoliticise, professionalise, and establish democratic civilian oversight of the State security apparatus were rebuffed by Mugabe.