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Is Zimbabwe going Pakistan way?

The phenomenon of army playing a key role in the politics of Zimbabwe can be traced back to the datum that most of the army is comprised of veterans of the Zimbabwean Chimurenga who joined the army after the war.


Devdiscourse News Desk 09 Aug 2018, 06:46 PM Zimbabwe

Since 1947, the military has been instrumental in Pakistan either as kingmaker or country outrightly being ruled by military dictators such as Muhammed Ayub Khan (1958), Muhamed Zia-ul-Haq (1977), and Pervez Musharraf (1999).

Elisa Ada Giunchi while analyzing the political and economic role of the Pakistani military wrote that several factors, internal and external, partly rooted in colonial policies, have contributed to strengthening the Pakistan military and boosting its image since the aftermath of Partition. After 1958, the army became a key political force and increasingly infiltrated the economy. Its penetration into crucial political decision-making became entrenched in the 80’s, while the greatest penetration into the economy and society took place in the 90’s, and has not been reversed to date.

The phenomenon of army playing a key role in the politics of Zimbabwe can be traced back to the datum that most of the army is comprised of veterans of the Zimbabwean Chimurenga who joined the army after the war. The national leadership produced by ZANU-PF, the ruling party in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, has deep roots in the armed forces.

Trajectory of democracy and politics in Zimbabwe has been marred with army playing a major role during the rule of Robert Mugabe when things threatened to go haywire after independence in the early 1980s, especially in Matebeleland which led to ruthless suppression of a rebellion by army, with the resultant massacre of thousands of unarmed Ndebele civilians in Gukurahundi massacre. Later, Rober Mugabe was removed by his own right hand, Emmerson Mnangagwa, with support from the army.

Just after the announcement of results of recently concluded elections at least six persons were confirmed dead in firing by the army on civilians protesting the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s failure to announce the outcome of the country’s July 30 presidential election in a timely fashion. Although, the army has denied any involvement in the violent crackdown, no denying the fact that the army remains as a key player in the politics of the country.

A report published in Report Focus News points out that it is difficult to envisage the army relinquishing all privileges. When they removed Mugabe last year they had to be seen to be replacing him with a civilian leader to avoid the consequent sanctions that come with a coup. However, the army has simply tightened the grip on most of the senior civil service appointments where former senior soldiers taking civilian posts and, now, senior posts in the cabinet.

With the equations unfolding in Zimbabwe it will remain difficult for the opposition to straighten out the involvement of the army in country’s politics just like in Pakistan.


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