Fears are mounting that Zimbabwe’s military will seize power in the event of President Robert Mugabe’s death or electoral defeat.
A top army general on Wednesday said they would not allow anyone who does not share the ideals of the veteran ruler’s Zanu PF party to lead the country.
“As the military, we do not only believe, but act in defence of these values and we will not respect any leader who does not respect the revolution,” Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) chief of staff Major General Trust Mugoba said.
“We will not even allow them to go into office because they do not represent the ideology we fought for. “As the military establishment, we have an ideology that is represented in the mission of Zanu PF.”
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai believes that such statements are aimed at him and is worried about a repeat of the violence that marred the 2008 elections.
President Mugabe who turned 88 in February and is rumoured to be battling ill health wants elections this year.
The army was blamed for the deadly violence that marred the previous elections where over a hundred supporters of Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were killed.
On Tuesday the former trade unionist told civil society that the army had lowered its recruitment requirements to recruit Zanu PF aligned militias ahead of the elections.
He threatened to pull out of the elections if the generals did not stop interfering in politics. “We know why this is being done. It is being done to undermine free and fair elections.
“It’s not an election, it’s a war and we will not be part of that war. They will go it alone,” Mr Tsvangirai said.
“They (generals) are serving members and we would hope their fundamental principle is to uphold the constitution and serve the people of Zimbabwe.’’