Defence forces chief oders Zimbabweans to vote Magabe

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One of the Zimbabwe defence forces top chiefs says he would never salute opposition presidential candidates Dr Simba Makoni and Mr Morgan Tsvangirai should either of them win the March 29 polls.

from our correspondent in Harare

Retired Major-General Paradzayi Zimondi, who is the commissioner of Prisons says if the opposition wins the election, he will be the first one to resign from his job and go back to defend his piece of land. “We are going to the elections and you should vote for President
Mugabe,” said Rtd Maj-Gen Zimondi.

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 Mr 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.

Maj- Ge Zimondi was addressing 14 senior officers recently promoted Mr Mugabe.

This week, Mugabe awarded salary increments to the military, only a month away from the general elections.

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