Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has promised decent wages, improved living conditions and title deeds for the country’s security forces if his party forms a future government in Zimbabwe.
In a message to mark the country’s 42nd Defence Forces Day Commemorations on Tuesday, Chamisa also promised to end what he said has been the current government’s systematic purging of serving soldiers along tribal and patronage lines.
Chamisa said security forces were above party politics adding that they have been versatile and adept in protecting the country’s sovereignty and dignity.
“We recognise and cherish this important role you have played and continue to play,” said the opposition chief, whose party was represented by some of its top officials at the main commemorations at the National Sports Stadium.
“You do this for the benefit of your beloved country and not for the benefit of a political leader or individual politicians.
“Politicians come and go, serve and leave – but you are a permanent citizens’ institution. You are patriots. Patriotism is non-partisan.”
The country’s opposition leader with the most realistic chance of upstaging President Emmerson Mnangagwa in polls next year – based on his last contest with the incumbent – promised to improve the welfare of the country’s security forces.
“We are aware of your challenges, circumstances and predicament in resources, livelihoods and welfare,” he said.
“We will honour and respect you by advocating and providing decent wages and living conditions commensurate with the pivotal and vital role you play and responsibilities you bear.
“Above all, we will advocate that you have a fair share of our resources, decent housing and title deeds.
“We will honour and respect you by condemning the unnecessary, unwarranted and unmerited purging or discrimination on tribal and patronage basis at the expense of merit and service.”
Chamisa added, “Our Citizens’ army must and shall be the strongest and well-resourced army in the region. Every Zimbabwean must feel protected and be assured to be defended. We will put money and invest in our security -citizens’ security.”
The charming comments targeted at the country’s security forces could also be a strategic attempt to allay their insecurities in the event of a new government, other than that of Zanu PF.
The country’s military has been a major determining force on who rules the country having led the 2017 coup that dislodged long serving leader Robert Mugabe and also blocked the opposition’s ascension to power before.
The military has also often been drafted into partisan party campaigns by the Zanu PF led administration.
Led by the now Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, the military led a bloody campaign for Mugabe’s re-election in a 2008 presidential run-off poll which succeeded an inconclusive poll partially won by the once influential MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.