Ideas Party for Democracy (IDP) leader Herbert Chamuka last week claimed that the army will play a major role in next year’s election alleging that in the event that President Emmerson Mnangagwa loses, his Army General, Valerio Sibanda will intervene.
He warned political parties to brace for a bloodbath should ZanuPF win, a scenario which he said is highly unlikely. Chamuka said the only way to mitigate army intervention will be for all parties to unite under one banner and do away with elections.
“Do not be too confident that the CCC will win or the IPD will win at next year’s elections. Even if any of those wins, Sibanda will just wake up and say you will not get into state house and we will not be able to do anything about it because he will have the backing of the army,” said Chamuka.
“This means we will continue suffering. What we need is dialogue. Remember we were once told by then ZDF commander, Vitalis Zvinavashe, that late MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, will never be president, and we know they never allowed him.
“Even though it seemed to change in 2008, the situation reverted. Even if we anticipate the 2023 elections and the army is quiet, then Zanu-PF has won. The country will not get better; in fact, the situation will get worse, we will soon be pricing bread in billions,” Chamuka alleged.
He said despite the existing Political Leaders and Actors Dialogue (POLAD), there is a need for one leader who is neutral and who will serve an unspecified term as the country gets its economy on the mend.
He said Mnangagwa benefits nothing from POLAD as he is surrounded by “a congregation of poor men who just wanted to eat”
“POLAD was just an opportunity for poor men to eat. If you noticed, most of those people did not even have their own cars; their only opportunity to get those was at that platform,” he said.
“What we need is genuine dialogue that will suspend elections for at least three years as we concentrate on fixing the economy. We need all opposition parties and Mnangagwa himself in a united government to fix this rot,” Chamuka said.
He further said if Nelson Chamisa leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change, does not want dialogue, then he should just shut down his political party because he does not want development.
“If he has the keys, as he says, then he should give us so that we use them to stabilise our economy, because the people of Zimbabwe are suffering,”Chamuka said.
The army is no stranger to meddling in politics as it was a major factor in determining the 2008 presidential winner. After losing to the late Morgan Tsvangirai, former president, the late Robert Mugabe engaged the army which terrorised villagers who had voted against him In 2017, the army would then turn on Mugabe as it propelled Mnangagwa to the throne.
There are also allegations of army interference in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as some commissioners are retired service members.