Chiwenga Says Mugabe Was Hiding Behind Sanctions
The Vice President who is the current Acting Head Of State, Constantino Chiwenga, has said former President Robert Mugabe was hiding behind sanctions as an excuse.
This is Chiwenga’s first open public criticism of his forner boss since taking over government last year November.Chiwenga was at the time presenting a lecture at the University of Zimbabwe on the role of the military in peace building and national reconciliation during the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo centenary celebrations, Acting President Chiwenga said the Zimbabwe Defence Forces intervened after noticing that Mr Mugabe had lost his constitutional mandate to third parties and in so doing let the people down.
“Even if the country was under sanctions, there were so many (issues) that were not affected by sanctions, but the leadership was just hiding behind such in some things that they could solve internally and some people who were not constitutionally mandated to do so were now making decisions that affected the smooth operations of the State and they would fire people left, right and centre, those they felt they did not like,” he said.
“When we were going around the country this other day with President Mnangagwa and Vice President Kembo Mohadi, we saw bridges which were built long ago, but with no roads to connect them. For example, the road from Karoi to Magunje which is supposed to link with Victoria Falls, thereby cutting the journey by half, but 38 years down the line it was ignored by the old dispensation.”
Acting President Chiwenga said he felt obliged to address the situation in the manner the ZDF did last November.
“When you are a foremost commander whose roots are steeped in the liberation struggle and you see the very fabric and foundation of the society you helped build as a cadre of the struggle, the very society you protected and defended as a commander, threatened with implosion and collapse, what becomes upper most on your mind is not political terminology or jargon, but your responsibilities as a man in charge of an institution which is the State’s last line of defence as bided by the constitution,” he said.
“Section 212 explicitly states and I quote: ‘The function of the Defence Forces is to protect Zimbabwe, its people, its national security and its interests and its national integrity and to uphold this constitution’”.
Acting President Chiwenga said many people, including scholars, failed to pick that the symbol of the State (Mr Mugabe) was also a victim.
“What has not been apparent to our sophisticated scholars is that where the figure and the symbol of the State is himself a victim of that threatened disintegration, the Defence Forces as the last line of protecting the constitutional order is enjoined to act,” he said.
“What made Operation Restore Legacy stand out and apart from the average African experience, was in how measured and respectful of the corner stones of the constitutional order it was.
“What is significant is not that the tanks got out of the barracks, but Parliament remained functional, the judiciary went about with its business as usual and the rest of the executive branch continued to function as normal.
“Most spectacularly, the Head of State and the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces continued to enjoy his honours and salute, including from me personally and from the rest of the officers, men and women within the defence forces.”
Acting President Chiwenga said Zanu-PF and Parliament took steps that decided the political fate of the country. He said the situation had gone out of control.
“The country’s leadership had let its people down as there was no longer policy consistence and businesspeople were no longer able to plan for the future as things were not predictable,” said Acting President Chiwenga. “People never knew what tomorrow held for them.”
He said no one had monopoly over Zimbabwe.
“We hold different views and we must accept that,” he said. “We should accept other people’s views. If you see yourself saying my views alone are the best then you are wrong. What will become of the others?
“We must listen to what others say, if they say no, go by the majority vote. Zimbabweans must preserve and cherish the peace currently prevailing because once lost, it might be difficult to regain.
“President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Government, as you can see, has opened up for everyone and people are now free to say what they want and do what they want. Today we see 23 vying for the Presidency and this has never happened and no country has ever had such an experience, everyone is free and happy.”
Acting President Chiwenga said this was the direction the country should take.
“If we go in this direction where all citizens are happy then we are a better country,” he said. “To those who want to toyi toyi as part of airing out their grievances, let them do that as long as they do not destroy other people’s property.
“They have the time to waste and it is also good to let them burn their anger and steam and after demonstrations they cool off.”