A Letter to R.M.
28th December 2005
President Robert Mugabe,
Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,
As the Commander-in- Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), you
doubt acutely aware of the Constitutional provisions and the relevant
of Parliament governing the conduct and operations of the Zimbabwe
Forces (ZDF) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
There are neither constitutional nor legal provisions in either the
Constitution or the Defence Act and the Police Act which empower you to
transform these national institutions into combative political units of
political party ZANU PF. Instead, in the Constitution and relevant Acts
Parliament, an impregnable line is clearly drawn between the areas of
military operations and competence and those that are within the
competence of political and civic authorities. You are constitutionally
legally bound to maintain and uphold that line.
Where that line is drawn is not a matter of interpretation, argument or
haggling. The line is cast in stone. To equivocate on this fundamental
principle is to overthrow a critical provision of the Constitution and
subvert the relevant Acts of Parliament.
The ZDF and the ZRP are specifically and explicitly barred from
participating in the politics and political processes of the country as
organized units with distinct political preferences operationalised in
context of military and police formations aligned to a particular
party. They can only participate in politics as individual private
entitled to cast their votes in secrecy of the ballot box.
This line between military and political/civil matters is designed to
the perpetuation of representative civilian government as opposed to
imposition of an unrepresentative military junta. For the record, I
restate that we in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have
ourselves to this sacred principle and on numerous public occasions we
stated that under an MDC government, the professional standing,
and integrity of the Army and the Police will be jealously guarded. The
and the Police will be insulated from the negative effects of
politics on their esprit de corps.
Tragically, the record of your regime displays a deliberate strategy to
the Constitution and warp the relevant Parliamentary statutes in order
obliterate this critical separation between civilian and military
as a way to thwart and neutralize legitimate and peaceful democratic
political challenges. In the result, you have now created a
junta, which acts as an illegal bulwark against democratic political
opposition in general.
This is amply demonstrated by the undeniable fact that since 2001, you
remained silent when senior members of the of the ZDF and ZRP officer
make public political pronouncements singling out the MDC as an enemy
political formation that must be destroyed, while at the same time, the
officers profess unqualified allegiance to your political party, ZANU
December 2001, General Zvinavashe, then overall commander of the ZDF,
flanked by the commanders of the Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force,
and the Directors of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and
Prisons, openly announced at a press conference, their partisan and
unqualified allegiance to your political party and their unflinching
hostility to the MDC, pointing out that they neither accepted an MDC
in the then forthcoming presidential poll nor were they to take orders
or salute an MDC government and president respectively.
This was a clear announcement to rebel against a legitimate popularly
elected representative government should it come to power. It was a
threat to mount a coup d'etat against an MDC government should it come
power. Again you remained silent in the face of the public
service commanders who had openly expressed their intention to negate
popular will and overthrow the Constitution. As Commander-in-Chief of
ZDF we can safely assume that they were acting under your direct
the opposite is true, why was there no action on your part? Is that the
legacy you want to bequeath Zimbabwe?
Zvinavashe's successor General Constantine Chiwenga reiterated the same
political position soon after his appointment; and subsequently Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, made it abundantly clear in public that
was an active member of your political party, ZANU PF; that members of
ZRP who did not support ZANU PF should leave the force and that he
would not serve under an MDC government. This was an open invitation
police to rebel against a government, which would have been
elected. Again you said and did nothing.
Recently, on December 12, 2005 while addressing a pass out parade at
Thornhill Air Force Base in Gweru, these insurgent and rebellious
positions were given a sharper focus, renewed urgency and active intent
Major-General Chedondo. Chedondo announced an operational instruction
military order that the MDC must be destroyed and that I, Morgan
its leader must be regarded and treated as National Enemy No. 1. This
be interpreted in any other way except as a call for the structural
destruction of a legitimate and legal political party, commanding the
allegiance of millions of Zimbabweans and the physical elimination of
president and leadership. This was a more focussed and more direct
the MDC as a peaceful democratic political party and the continued
existence of its leadership. Up to now, you have done nothing about the
Chedondo's clearly criminal pronouncements.
Is it your order and command that the Army and the Police should rebel
against any future government that does not emanate from ZANU PF? Is it
your order that every other political party that aspires to and
comes to power in Zimbabwe must be destroyed and its leadership
Let me say this to you for the record: A physical elimination of myself
some of my colleagues in the MDC leadership will not solve your
problems. If anything such a dastardly and cowardly act will definitely
an incendiary and therefore totally destructive effect on the country.
will history remember and judge you?
It is therefore quite clear that under your direct command, and under
present ZDF and ZRP officer corps, the Army and the Police are being
transformed into organized armed combat units of your political party.
are destroying the future political environment/terrain for democratic
politics and civilian rule in Zimbabwe. In fact, by your instigation
have virtually destroyed the terrain for civilian competitive politics
the country. It is not too late for you to alter the specific character
the legacy that you will one day leave behind.
We are aware that your instructions as expressed by the officer corps
Army and the Police have not percolated to the lower levels of
ordinary soldiers and policemen and women, whose loyalty to the
nation undoubtedly goes beyond narrow allegiances to political parties.
However, by pushing senior Army and Police officers into active
you are creating a potentially dangerous and explosive situation, which
constitutes a serious threat to the future stability and integrity of
You are no doubt aware that Africa is replete with examples of the
disastrous consequences of deliberately politicising the officer corps
the army and the police and the bloody fractious outcome of that. Is
the legacy you want to leave behind?
It is common knowledge that in addition to subverting the command
of the police and the army, your regime has transformed the CIO into an
intelligence wing of your political party, bend on harassing,
and murdering MDC supporters with impunity; while senior civil servants
required, at the pain of severe sanctions, to be active and card
members of your political party, engaging in ferocious political
against the MDC. These organs of the Zimbabwe public service are now
operating virtually as active partisan units of your political party in
is supposed to be a civilian political contest between two civilian
political parties. It has become, instead, a contest between the
political formation that I lead and the civil-military junta that you
We are well aware that this politicisation of the Army, Police, CIO and
Senior Civil Servants are a product of your desperate attempt to
quash all political opposition, both inside and outside your party,
your inevitable departure from office. This will enable you to craft,
engineer and implement an illegitimate succession plan to the position
State President in which a hand picked successor will inherit your
rule. We are further aware that this militarization of the political
is intended to create a context in which you will use your party's
two-thirds majority in the House of Assembly to once again tamper with
Constitution and push the scheduled presidential poll from 2008 to
thereby nullifying the constitutional requirement for your handpicked
successor to seek a popular mandate to govern -- a mandate which you
well know the people of Zimbabwe will never grant. You seem to be bent
sacrificing the stability and integrity of the country on the altar of
This particular policy of your regime and the current survival strategy
your political party in the light of your inevitable exit from active
politics, are combining to usher in a visible and ominous threat to the
stability and integrity of the country. You are charting a disastrous
for the future of the country. The people of Zimbabwe will continue to
resist any political formulae imposed on them solely in accordance with
whims of your temper.
We make a minimal plea to you in the name of the people of Zimbabwe, to
abandon these games and let the people of Zimbabwe, at your expected
departure, choose a government and political leaders of their choice
your interference and unwanted tutelage.
Cc: Chairman, African Union
Secretary General, United Nations