The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Director for Public Relations Colonel Everson Mugwisi has decried allegations by various media organisations that it is playing a role in assisting the ruling ZANU-PF to win the upcoming 2018 presidential elections.
Col Mugwisi made these remarks during a press conference where gave a briefing on the role of the military in the 2018 presidential elections.
He dismissed various articles that have been published on print and online media, where the military is being alleged to have deployed thousands of personnel especially into rural areas in a bid to assist ZANU-PF to win the elections.
“On June 6, 2018 the Standard reported that 5000 soldiers had been deployed especially to rural areas to campaign for ZANU-PF. On June 14, an online media report by Siphosami Malunga alleged that Zimbabwe’s military has a record of interfering in elections in favour of the ruling party and that more than 2000 soldiers had been deployed in rural areas.
“Another online media by Snodia Mawupeni insinuated military participation in ZANU-PF primaries on April 1. On March 28 Richard Chidza of Newsday cited European Union and opposition leaders accusing the army of lacking neutrality and of deploying personnel in rural areas. On April 30, Blessings Mashaya of Daily News wrote on article entitled “It’s people’s vote, not the military’s debating on the role of military,” said Col Mugwisi.
He said all these articles were falsely reported and held no truth.
He urged media organizations to seek truth from ZDF so as to attain the correct information.
“May you please confirm with us on issues concerning the ZDF if you are not sure of the information available to you. We encourage you to report accurately and responsibly to promote peace and unity before, during as well as after the elections,” said Col Mugwisi.
Col Mugwisi went on to dismiss allegations that the military is lending a hand in rigging the upcoming elections through postal ballot.
“The postal ballot is there to allow military members who will be committed to military duty to exercise their constitutional right to vote. These include those who will partake in the Russian military games as well as those on border control patrols,” he said.
He added “Our role in the upcoming elections is to help the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in maintaining law and order before, during and after the elections. We are ready to assist ZEC with transport where necessary. Beyond that we remain ready to defend our country’s territorial integrity and interests.”