Zimbabwe’s main opposition party says President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government must take action against ministers who recently said the army would not allow a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) victory in polls this year.
MDC Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora says the army should also publicly dissociate itself from the ministers’ statements.
‘Equipped with a gun’
Deputy Finance Minister Terence Mukupe was quoted as telling supporters in Harare this week that the army hadn’t wrested the country from former president Robert Mugabe’s rule “to come and hand it over to Chamisa”.
Another minister, Josiah Hungwe, was on Thursday reported as telling a meeting in Chiredzi, south-eastern Zimbabwe that Mnangagwa was a soldier who “is always equipped with a gun to do whatever he wants.”
“It’s clear that deputy minister Mukupe and Minister Josiah Hungwe are talking on behalf of the junta,” Mwonzora told News24, using his party’s term for Mnangagwa’s government and its perceived strong army links.
“It is undemocratic, it is unconstitutional and it is disrespectful to the people of Zimbabwe,” Mwonzora added.
On Wednesday the government slammed Mukupe’s remarks as “reckless” and “unlawful” and said they were not in line with Mnangagwa’s pledge to hold free and fair elections.
But Mwonzora said statements alone were not enough to reassure Zimbabweans and the international community. He called for disciplinary action to be taken against Mukupe.
Statement from the army
“We also want the army itself to specifically state that they dissociate themselves from Mukupe’s statement,” Mwonzora said.
Writing on Twitter, aspiring independent MP, Fadzayi Mahere said: “At least the world will understand that the opposition is not being alarmist when it raises concerns over the freeness/fairness of the election.”