By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
11 June 2014
Air Marshall Perence Shiri’s statement that the military do not interfere in the politics of ZANU PF is a blatant lie, a senior MDC-T official said on Wednesday.
Giles Mutsekwa, the MDC-T secretary for defence, security and intelligence, said Shiri’s comments should be taken as a joke considering the amount of atrocities committed by the military on orders from ZANU PF.
‘As a party, we are completely shocked by his statement. We only wish the airforce commander was speaking the truth, which we know he was not.
‘We know the constitution does not allow them to delve into politics, they have said repeatedly over and over again that there is nothing that separates them with ZANU PF,’ Mutsekwa said.
Speaking to the ZBC on Tuesday, the Air Marshall said they only get involved in politics when the country is under external threat. Shiri was reacting to media reports suggesting that underfire Information Minister Jonathan Moyo had approached the military junta to talk to President Robert Mugabe on his behalf.
Last week, Mugabe described Moyo as the ‘devil incarnate’ for fanning factionalism in the ruling party by using the state media to wage factional wars.
‘Don’t plant seeds of division. You have our minister of information wanting to put people one against another. Don’t make anyone in the party a political enemy. We now have weevils in our midst. ZANU PF has weevils within its ranks.’ Mugabe said.
Following this tirade, Moyo is reported to have approached the service chiefs to see if they could stop Mugabe from firing him as cabinet minister. But Shiri dismissed the allegations, saying as the military they were schooled into understanding that ‘the gun does not command the party, but the party does command the gun.’
However, Mutsekwa disagreed with this analogy saying for Shiri to come out now and deny what he’s been associated with for decades boggles the mind.
‘I would have been happier if the commander had said from now henceforth, he has decided he was misleading himself and the entire airforce by involving himself in politics. If he had made that statement the whole of Zimbabwe would be in jubilation.
‘But to simply say they have never and will never involve themselves in politics is being economic with the truth,’ added Mutsekwa.
He said the bloodshed during the 2008 runoff election was led by the military, while the late General Vitalis Zvinavashe made it clear before the 2002 presidential elections that they will not endorse a president without liberation war credentials.
This was in reference to the military’s disdain for the MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai taking over power if he had won the poll.
In the early 1980’s Shiri, when he was still an army colonel, led the infamous 5th brigade to kill over 20,000 people, in what is known as the Gukurahundi massacres.