[DEBATE] : I'll not salute Tsvangirai, Makoni- Defence chief
ashley_fataar at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Feb 29 10:50:02 GMT 2008
>From the Zimbabwe state-run daily, The Herald
I'll not salute Tsvangirai, Makoni -- Defence chief
(Zimbabwe) Herald Reporter
ONE of the country's top defence forces chiefs, Retired Major-General Paradzayi Zimondi, says he will not salute opposition presidential candidates Dr Simba Makoni and Mr Morgan Tsvangirai should either of them win the March 29 election.
The Commissioner of Prisons said: "If the opposition wins the election, I will be the first one to resign from my job and go back to defend my piece of land. I will not let it go.
"We are going to the elections and you should vote for President Mugabe," said Rtd Maj-Gen Zimondi, departing from his prepared speech at a function yesterday to confer new ranks to 14 senior officers recently promoted by Cde Mugabe.
The Zimbabwe Prison Service is an integral part of the country's defence forces, which is made up of the national army, air force, police and prisons.
During the run-up to the 2002 presidential elections, the entire defence forces top brass stated that they would not salute a president who did not support or defend the ideals of the liberation struggle.
Rtd Maj-Gen Zimondi urged staff under his command to vote for President Mugabe and said he would resign and defend his piece of land if the opposition wins the harmonised elections.
"I am giving you an order to vote for the President (Cde Mugabe). Do not be distracted. The challenges we are currently facing are just a passing phase," he said.
Rtd Maj-Gen Zimondi said the only way to protect the gains of Zimbabwe's protracted liberation struggle was to stand by the Government and its leadership.
He lashed out at Dr Makoni and Mr Tsvangirai, whom he said were serving the interests of the United States and Britain against the people of Zimbabwe.
"I will only support the leadership of President Mugabe. I will not salute them (Dr Makoni and Mr Tsvangirai). If you want to salute them vote for them, but I urge you to vote for the President," he said.
Rtd Maj-Gen Zimondi said President Mugabe was a tried and tested revolutionary leader with the interests of the people at heart.
Supporting Dr Makoni and Mr Tsvangirai, he said, was tantamount to supporting former colonial master Britain.
"We still remember the blood and graves of our gallant sons and daughters who died for this country and we shall not sell them out to imperialists forces."
Land reform, he said, would never be reversed and he would do everything to safeguard it.
He said the two opposition presidential aspirants would give back land to former colonial masters if they won the elections and warned this would provoke war.
"No empowerment is more than the land we got. We shall not let it go. If you let the country go, God will not help you anymore; and when you die, you
will go to hell for failing to defend your land against your enemies," said Rtd Maj-Gen Zimondi.
The officers were conferred with new ranks after President Mugabe promoted them in terms of the Prison Act.
Four assistant commissioners were promoted to the rank of senior assistant commissioner, while 10 chief superintendents were elevated to the rank of assistant commissioner with effect from February 18.
Two women -- Fadzai Mupure and Jesika Moyo -- were among the four who were promoted to the rank of senior assistant commissioner.
Two other women -- Charity Gezi and Chipo Chiadzwa -- were promoted to the rank of assistant commissioner.
Rtd Maj-Gen Zimondi said the promotion of women was in line with the Government policy on gender equality.
He said the promotion of the two women to the rank of senior assistant commissioner was the first in the history of the ZPS.
Rtd Maj-Gen Zimondi urged the officers to be loyal to the Government and appealed to them to conscientise juniors under their command to remain loyal to both the service and the Government.
He said life could only be understood when people took time to reflect on their past.
"This is why it is important to teach some of these junior officers the history of the country. We all know why we took up arms against the settlers and how painful the process was," he said.
He said history was important in safeguarding the country's sovereignty.
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