With elections expected sometime next year to end the inclusive government, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa this week suggested that the country’s military may not accept Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as the country’s new leader if he wins the presidential poll.
Citing western influence in the Movement for Democratic Change, the Zanu PF lead-negotiator in the Global Political Agreement told the British Broadcasting Corporation that the MDC leader is not expected to win the election.
Chinamasa said: “Tsvangirai cannot win. He has been campaigning and mobilizing against the interests of Zimbabweans on many issues, whether talking about land, seeking to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle.”
Chinamasa said Mr. Tsvangirai will be asking for trouble if he sought to reverse the land reform program.
The justice minister was challenged to clarify what he meant by ‘trouble’ and he responded by saying: "I know he is the front of the countries that impose sanctions.
“And if those countries impose for him to win, that result will not be acceptable. We will not accept it. We will just not accept it. Isn't that clear?"
The prime minister’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka told VOA: “The comments reinforce what we have said all along that we cannot proceed to the next election without implementation of reforms, key among them security sector reform.
He said the role of the security sector is only limited to maintaining peace. “It’s the ballot and not the bullet that should count in an election.”
Ralph Black, the MDC-T’s representative to the United States, said he was extremely concerned by Chinamasa’s statements.
Black said his party does not have a policy to return farms to white commercial farmers.
“Zanu PF does not want an election therefore will create a diversion and suggest that the MDC is seeking to compromise and subvert the sovereignty of the nation and to return land compulsorily acquired in the chaotic land acquisition program to the white farmers,” he said.
Black said Chinamasa’s politically charged and emotive topic is based on a lie to get radical elements in Zanu PF riled up.
Former Zanu PF Finance Minister and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn party leader, Simba Makoni, said Chinamasa’s statements are undemocratic.
Makoni said it is not clear what weight to attribute to the minister’s comments since Chinamasa is not the spokesman for the security services or of Zanu PF.
“But it’s an ominous statement because it is definitely an undemocratic and anti-democracy stance. If we go to elections and people of Zimbabwe elect whoever they elect who is Patrick Chinamasa, and whoever he says he is representing, to then reject the will of the people?” Makoni asked.
The opposition leader said this shows that Zanu PF does not want Zimbabwe to hold free and fair elections.
“Those of us who are committed to genuine democracy must just resist this. We must embolden the people to stand for their rights,” Makoni said.