The Sunday Mail
THE early hours of a drizzly Wednesday morning marked a new chapter in Zimbabwe’s colourful political history.
It is the morning when the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, led by General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga, conducted a pre-dawn operation to protect democracy from its real enemies — over-ambitious and power-hungry politicians without a principled bone in their bodies.
The ZDF stated that it intervened to pacify a potentially volatile political, social and economic situation.
It’s a day this generation and those to come will discuss, debate and study. It’s a day when global media turned their eyes on Zimbabwe.
The story of the ZDF political and socio-economic stabilisation intervention reminded the world once again that this is a unique country.
As events unfold, world organisations such as the United Nations, African Union, European Union, Southern African Development Community, and global powerhouses such as China and Britain, spoke as if they were reading from the same script.
It’s as if one speech writer rendered his/her special service to all the organisations and countries.
Not one person or organisation of note has condemned the move by the ZDF. Everyone is simply preaching peace, restraint and progress.
The ZDF has stood by its word. They are weeding out criminal elements from President Mugabe’s inner circle.
“We are only targeting criminals around him (President Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” said ZDF spokesperson Major-General Sibusiso Moyo, who became an instant celebrity with his Wednesday morning broadcast.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”
Unconfirmed reports say Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, Finance Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo, Zanu- PF Youth League secretary Cde Kudzanayi Chipanga and Central Intelligence Organisation deputy director-general Albert Ngulube are under military guard.
Other reports say Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri has again found himself under military guard.
As events moved swiftly, Sadc chair and South African President Jacob Zuma called for peace, calm and restraint.
His voice was seconded by African Union Commission chair Moussa Mahamat who urged “all stakeholders to address the current situation in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the relevant instruments of the African Union, including the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance”.
EU spokesperson Catherine Ray said her bloc was following the unfolding situation with concern and encouraged respect for the rule of law and the fundamental rights of citizens.
Since early Wednesday morning, the ZDF has maintained peace as Zimbabweans go about their business without any hindrance.
If anything, there is a breath of fresh air and a spring in people’s steps. It is as if the ZDF, in one fell swoop, has lifted a burden off the shoulders of millions of people.
The military has also maintained the constitutional order and not usurped civilian rule. The President was at the Zimbabwe Open University graduation ceremony on Friday, the judiciary is functioning, businesses are doing what they always do and schools and health centres are offering services as normal.
This has seen Gen Chiwenga and his men and women being hailed by all and sundry.
From local opposition political parties to foreign news organisations like the Washington Post, Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail, BBC, CNN, ENCA, Al Jazeera, Sky News, SABC and ANN7, no one has a bad word for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
There is broad agreement that the military intervention is a step in the right direction.
That the ZDF stands for economic development, for people’s welfare, for justice and for democracy can no longer be called into question.
Gen Chiwenga’s action has sown the seeds of optimism that Zimbabwe will rise, and has killed opportunistic tendencies by politicians who think that they can abuse office to accumulate wealth while the rest of the nation groans under the weight of their transgressions.
And politically, the ZDF has proved that Zanu-PF need not grapple endlessly with the “succession issue”.