Army General Threatens To Kill MDC MP At A Hotel
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces remain opposed in principle to Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC, whom they accuse of trying to sell Zimbabwe's birthright to the West in return for money. They are also especially bitter about Tsvangirai's call for Zimbabwe to be put under sanctions when he was still an opposition leader (he said South Africa should cut off fuel and electricity supplies). Now, one of their new MPs has had to grovel in front of a Major General in the army, who threatened to kill him and make him "disappear without a trace" for "disrespecting generals and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces."
Harare, Zimbabwe, 12 October 2009
MDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Masvingo West, Tichaona Mharadze, went on his knees to beg forgiveness from Major General Englelbert Rugeje after the army Major-General took out his service pistol at a Masvingo and threatened to kill him.
Rugeje told those who were with him that he had threatened to kill Mharadze because he had "denigrated me, army generals and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces."
Sources present at the hotel, including Major Kudzai Mbudzi, who worked with Simba Makoni during the presidential election in Zimbabwe last year, say that the Major-General shouted at the MP, "I can squash you like a fly, make you disappear without a trace or bring an entire brigade down on your head."
Rugeje says he acted "under extreme provocation" from the MP.
"This naive MP had provoked me during introductions. I tried to make him understand that I was a general who represents neither the MDC nor ZANU PF, but Zimbabwe, but he continued to denigrate me, army generals and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces," the General told a Masvingo reporter.
He continued: "I then said I would beat him up but to assure him that it would be a fair fight, I took out my pistol, placed it on the table, left it there and challenged him to come out and fight me. Obviously, he quaked in his boots, all his grandstanding just stopped and he apologised to me. I pardoned this young man who was just a bus conductor a few months ago and can not believe that he is now an Honourable Member of Parliament."
Major Mbudzi, in confirming the incident, says the MP "went down on his knees and said "nhai kwenyu kumasoja hakunawo mapenzi here? Nditoreiwo serimwe benzi mundiregererewo (meaning, "surely you have madmen in the army, please take consider me a madman and forgive me.). Everyone was frightened," says Mbudzi.
Mharadze, hwowever, says he was never frightened and says he "negotiated" with the General until they reached "an understanding." He claims the General and he later drank together and "he phoned me two days later. He wanted to have one or two with me."
Most of you will know that Army Generals remain implacably opposed to Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC, whom they vow will never be president even if he wins 100% of votes cast in a Presidential election.
The Commander of the Defence Force himself, General Chiwengwa, pointedly refused to acknowledge Tsvangirai at that Defence Forces Day gathering where it was claimed Air Marshal Perance Shiri, the head of the Zimbabwe Air Force, had saluted Tsvangirai.
Right now, the National Security Council, which met just once, to fanfares from MDC loyalists desperate to be acknowledged by the army, is now in limbo, with the General refusing to attend it, saying Tsvangirai is still telling the world to maintain sanctions on them.
The antipathy towards the MDC runs deep in the army, despite MDC supporters telling us that it is only the top Commanders who refuse to accept the opposition party.
I told you a few weeks back about the beatings of people playing MDC songs at drinking places in Harare, as well as the beating of one MDC supporter at a rural shopping centre for "disrespecting our Commander-in-Chief" by ordinary soldiers.
No wonder Tsvangirai says this is as good as it gets and that the people of Zimbabwe "failed to remove Mugabe, so we have to settle for this (playing second fiddle to the loser."
For Tsvangirai, this is the apex of his achievements in Zimbabwean politics. He knows that, even if Mugabe were to die, those who are against him will still be around and will ensure that he never sets foot in State House as President of Zimbabwe.