By Daniel Chigundu
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Commander Lieutenant General Phillip Valerio Sibanda says Operational Restore Legacy (ORL) which targeted criminals around former President Robert Mugabe has finally come to an end.
The operation which started on the 13th of November was followed by various political developments chief among them the resignation of Mugabe and the inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa as the new President of Zimbabwe.
Addressing the media at a press conference General Sibanda said a new political dispensation has been ushered-in to take Zimbabwe into its rightful place within Sadc and the world at large.
“..as a result of these political developments, normalcy has returned to our country. It is for this reason that as your Defence and Security Services we announce the end of Operation Restore Legacy today the 18th December 2017.
“We want to take this opportunity to thank all Zimbabweans for their support, patience and understanding during the five weeks of OPL.
“We understand and regret the inconveniences and anxiety that this operation might have caused in certain circles of our nation, but as most of our people would agree, this was all for the good of our nation,” he said.
The continued presence of soldiers in the streets had received wide condemnation from opposition political parties and human rights groups, as some of them were reportedly engaging in rogue activities.
The ZNA Commander also took the opportunity to urge Zimbabweans to shun corruption and continue to abide by the law.
“As ORL comes to an end, it is our hope as your Defence and Security Services that our people will remain united, shun corruption, be law abiding and focus on working hard for the development of our country,” he said.
Meanwhile, seasoned human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told the Walter Kamba Law Lecture series that it was important that separation of powers and mandates be observed.
“The role of the army is to protect the state, the role of the police is to protect the civilians, but when you make the army to do both, the problem is that the army begins to think the enemies of the state are the people and this where we should stick to where things should be.
“The army constitutionally has a mandate and it must stick to that mandate, police must stick to their mandate and as lawyers we must also stick to our mandate. And when we talk about separation of powers we are talking about things that are really on the ground.
Mtetwa added that “right now frankly I don’t think we can talk of separation of anything because half the lawyers are factional, half the judges are factional, half the Constitutional institutions are factional and virtually everything we do is factional and we cannot talk of independence of anything,” she said.