Like a leopard that does not change its spots, Norton MP Temba Mliswa has not dumped Zanu PF tendencies of entrenching fear in the young, warning the youths against criticizing the army.
Mliswa says youths could openly criticize President Robert Mugabe, but not the army.
“The only institution which I tell as young people today which you must never fight is the army. Do you ever hear me attack the army?
“None of you guys has courage like me. When army comes in, the police and CIO are nothing,” said Mliswa whilst addressing a youth convention in Harare on Sunday.
Zanu PF has thrived over the past 36 years, using the state apparatus like the army and police to intimidate people and Mliswa’s tone is no different.
Mliswa unwittingly spoke highly of the army that was allegedly instrumental in stealing his Hurungwe West by-election through intimidation.
Mliswa lost that election to Zanu PF’s Keith Guzah and has still to date not received a report from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).
He added, “Even with my courage, the president I criticize but never the army. I know where to end. When you are in power the army, not the police and the CIO protect you.
“If you go to the President’s house who is outside? Do you need school to learn that? Those are people to work with not fight.”
The army is among the state institutions that the public feel has been aiding Mugabe’s rule, whilst soldiers have routinely been deployed to harass and beat up people whenever government saw it fit to do so.
The generals have never hidden their support Mugabe and were allegedly involved in the 80s Gukurahundi atrocities in Matabeleland where 20 000 civilians were massacred and many say it is baffling to hear Mliswa who won the Norton seat as an independent candidate throwing his weight behind the army.
“With over 80 percent of the country’s adult population unemployed, it is sickening to hear Mliswa speak about respecting the army without proffering solutions for economy dearth,” one commentator told Nehanda Radio.
Although many youths have been in support of the protests, it seems they will have to wait longer until the bread and butter issues are resolved.
The youths have been used as political weapons in countless elections in Zimbabwe only to be dumped after garnering the much-needed votes.