Zimbabwe: Security Elites Get Facebook Grilling

Zimbabwe’s political landscape is already known across the world to have many political booby traps and extrajudicial crackdowns on activists opposed to President Robert Mugabe’s three decade rule. The military has entered the fray with increasing concern among Mugabe’s political opponents and the general public that a politicized military is an ominous threats to democracy ahead of elections expected within the next year or two.

A senior official of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change turned to Facebook to speak his mind about the military’s brazen partisanship. Self-exiled Roy Bennet, MDC’s Treasurer General, was chosen by his party to be part of government as the deputy minister of agriculture when the coalition government was formed three years ago but Mugabe refused to swear him in, citing a pending court case against him.

Zimbabwean politician Roy Bennett (left). Photo source: Roy Bennett Facebook page.

And now with the security elites boldly proclaiming in public about their allegiance not to the people of Zimbabwe but Mugabe’s Zanu PF, Bennet is using Facebook to launch his criticism against the uniformed men and women. Other Zimbabweans have joined in the conversation using a platform that has provided them with free expression despite attempts by the same security forces last year to arrest a Facebook user for his post on the social networking site.

Bennet announced:

Hi friends. I am putting together a ‘Rat List’ of those in the security services who have become political animals and who will be unfit to remain in their jobs in a new Zimbabwe. This list will be published in due course and updated where …necessary. Those who have sold out the people and publicly declared loyalty to ZANU-PF will automatically be placed on the Rat List – Chiwenga, Mugoba, Chedondo, Nyikayaramba, Chihuri, etc – but the list will go further than that. Another list, the ‘A List’, will incorporate those who have remained apolitical and professional. These officers, the true professionals, will be considered for promotions and will be eligible for promotions and will be eligible for all the other benefits that will accrue to the services in a democratic Zimbabwe. The A List will remain confidential. I encourage those in the services to contact me at the link below and give me their recommendations on who should be on the Rat List and who should be on the A List.

Kudakwashe Brandon Gavi posted:

Ahoi comrade. Those who have choosen the Taliban way of solving our problems should be arrested irregardless of which party are they from.

Brian Chifamba posted:

Zimbabwe will never be a colony again bt we will nt allow (magandanga ayibikirwa nanambuya vedu sadza nenyama yehuku achiramba derere achiti anozorera – Guerillas were fed by our grandmothers) to oppress us,its better to be oppressed by a white man thn a black man.We want them listed and punished for all the wrongs they are doing.

Yananayi Mupondori urged other Zimbabweans to speak out:

Let's all speak out the bad even to our friends and relatives in the force for them to change and to improve and convert fellow officers to serve the nation. Its a struggle that if we win which is eminent, will benefit all. We want to see prof police working in gud environment not cycling 30km at wek.

Michael Itumeleng Dlamini promised not to give up:

Pachedu [Bennet’s nickname], asking for reformation of tha security sector is like asking ZANU PF to unfold,the army and police are zanu pf and Zanu PF is the army,so much more for tha peace loving ZIMBABWEANS…BUT WE'LL NEVER GIVE UP ALUTA CONTINUA

Mike Hitschmann contributed:

It's not true that members of the security forces are ZANU. The problem individuals are in the upper echelons – the men and women at the actual operational end of things are fed up with the situation and eager for change.

Eliah Jembere chipped in:

A generation is natural ,so the lower rank officers naturaly belong to this generation(tday's)w the spirit of belonging .army,police ,intelligence and a few politicians form the ruling elite so zim (yose) inoda zviro zvizhinji zviri mumaoko ewashoma awa (all Zimbabweans want the power that is in the hands of these few people)

John Petrie argued that the ruling party has forgotten its principles:

Hundreds of thousands have died, and yet hundreds of ZANU followers cling to the hope that this evil faux-socialist theoretical dead end will help. ZANU PF makes Zimbabwe the east Germany of Southern Africa – a Stalinist relic ethically and morally of history. Pseudo dead end playground revolutionary talk as they use terms like :Comrade – fighting to the last bullet – give us all a break. And I th…ink it is instructive that the party turned on its few remaining intellectual lights with a venegence. Sithole – exiled and Tekere expelled from the party. Whatever the party stood for has long been forgotten, for it the party and only the party that matters, not the long patient and long suffering good people.

Raymond Chamba warned:

While we watch but refuse to see, and indeed listen but refuse to hear, my dear Zimbabwe is slowly but definetely sliding into an open confrontation….yes….WAR. It would be of a kind that SADC/AU [Southern African Development Community/African Union] cant control as the combatants are not signatory to any agreement(s) they control. There would be new heroes as a new generation fights against the old. Its all predictable as the present order has declared silent war against the people, its only logical that “they” will fight back. The system has created too many structured losers and dead-enders. I hear the drums, lightning and thunder of the final countdown and its sad that we are not headed for “Venus”. Those with ears must listen and hear good..

ZimRelax WithJewels posted:

I can see where you are coming from bro'….. I however have trust that the ICC understand that this case is a huge challenge due to all the effervescence within and around it….. and that they will plan for any surprises accordingly.

Brian Berias Trust Mari wrote:

of all the things, I hate the comments of the Generals in the sense that they will call for a war if an 89 year old man lose election to a 61 year old man without giving an alternative. D they say only one man lent how to lead during the struggle and the rest leant how to defend only that individual?

Raymond Chamba pointed out the benefits new media in the struggle for democracy:

Long after the batteries of old heroes have seized, the clear modern day revolutionary in Zimbabwe is the cellphone. Lets enhance democracy by introducing phone based voter registration and rock the next election. The only revolutionary, true and credible outstanding issue to the next election would be mobile phone based mass voter registration and education. Everything else is largely political g…aming and grandstanding. I have an academic paper and template worked out for credible mass voter registration and education over the phone. Forget traditional rallies just keep your cellphone charged. Hail Dr Strive Masiyiwa, a great visionary, democrat, entepreneurial impressario, philanthropist and true son of the soil!!. Your thoughts….

On June 8, Bennet announced:

Zanu-PF political commissars Trust Mugoba and Martin Chedondo will be court martialled under the Defence Act when a democratic government comes to power. They have violated their oaths to uphold the constitution and will be charged with tre…ason. They will be replaced by officers who have remained apolitical and true to their obligations as professional Zimbabwean soldiers and servants of the people. Our security services will need to be reformed along the lines of the report ‘Defence and security in a new Zimbabwe’.”

Wisecracks usually say that there is freedom of speech in Zimbabwe but no freedom after speech! It sure looks like Zimbabweans are fully utilizing social media to speak freely about the feared securocrats.

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