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"Zim Is A Military Dictatorship With A Thin Civilian Veneer", Analyst

4 years agoThu, 25 Jul 2019 08:05:50 GMT
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"Zim Is A Military Dictatorship With A Thin Civilian Veneer", Analyst

A columnist for the Daily Maverick, Simon Taylor, argues that Zimbabwe has a flawed democracy since the military is not subject to parliamentary oversight.

This calls for a restructuring of not only the military but the police, judiciary and intelligence services as well, the columnist argues. He writes:

… Chapter 4, Article 111 of the Zimbabwe Constitution (2013) grants the president the sole authority to declare war, which can only be overturned by a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament.

This is an extraordinary power which severely limits the oversight power of Parliament to control the military in Zimbabwe. In other words, civilian control over the armed forces is fairly weak.

The Zimbabwean military has been content to be the power behind the throne, seldom removing the velvet glove to exercise its iron fist.

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The removal of Robert Mugabe was one exceptional case where the glove came off, another is the current state of violence.

As long as the civilian politicians have acceded to the interests of the military, senior officers have stayed in their barracks.

If substantial change is desired in Zimbabwe, then the time has come to stop treating Zimbabwe as a democracy, flawed or otherwise, and view it as a military dictatorship with a thin civilian veneer.

It has been observed that international actors struggle to deal with military juntas. This is clearly illustrated in Myanmar where the military junta massacred hundreds of civilians during the Rohingya genocide.

For securocrats to withdraw from politics, there is a need to grant them some degree of amnesty (as in Brazil)or delays of prosecution (as experienced in Argentina). Taylor asserts that military rulers rarely give up power quietly.

In the case of Zimbabwe, Taylor argues that there is a need for a comprehensive reform programme for the military as a necessary step towards a more complete civilian and democratic control of the armed forces.

More: Daily Maverick

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