THE behaviour by Government officials who attack State programmes like Command Agriculture can no longer be tolerated and must stop, the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga said yesterday.
In an exclusive interview with our Harare Bureau in Harare, Gen Chiwenga – in apparent reference to Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, and his Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment counterpart Patrick Zhuwao who have been attacking Command Agriculture – said the security services were fully aware of the forces sponsoring the spirited attacks.
Prof Moyo has been on a campaign against Command Agriculture which he derided as “Ugly-Culture” equating reports of its success as ”Command Lies” while Minister Zhuwao vented against Zimpapers accusing the Group’s titles of promoting Command Agriculture at the expense of Zim-Asset. This is despite the fact that Command Agriculture falls under the Food and Nutrition Cluster of Zim-Asset.
At the two Presidential Youth Interface Rallies he addressed in Marondera and Mutare recently, President Mugabe hailed the success of Command Agriculture amid indications from Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made that the programme would exceed the projected yields.
Gen Chiwenga said of all Government interventions to promote food production since the launch of the fast-track land reform programme at the turn of the millennium among them Operation Maguta and the various phases of the Farm Mechanisation Programme, Command Agriculture had been the most successful in moving the Zimbabwe to national food self-sufficiency.
“So we ask the question: who is saying this is a bad programme? A programme which has been spearheaded, approved by the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Head of State and Government, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
“You go and say no that is not right? He (President Mugabe) pronounced himself in Marondera when he was addressing the youth. He pronounced the same thing in Manicaland.
“And you say no, this is now bringing Communism … some of these people, they have farmed 80 hectares with inputs – seeds, fertilisers – from Command Agriculture, and they are talking of a bumper harvest.
“So these people who are talking against Command Agriculture, linking it to unthinkable things, they are no different from those in Sodom and Gomorrah; those homosexuals, where Lot’s wife was turned in a heap of salt,” Gen Chiwenga said.
He added that it was unthinkable during the liberation struggle for senior officials to leak private discussions held by the leadership for their own selfish ends.
“We have fought a bitter armed struggle and we have never seen it that whatever was discussed at the High Command was leaked to the cadres. What was discussed at the Central Committee of the party was respected and they would tell the cadres what they need to know.
“They could argue and no one would ever talk. We were in the front. We would meet the commanders and sometimes disagree on strategy but it would never reach the ears of the fighters.”Even those who were there to record what was being discussed would never open their mouths.
“Now before a meeting is complete we already see it on Twitter. What is that? Discipline has been completely lost. Now it shows when individuals come and say I will destroy, not only the party, but the entire system from inside.
“The papers are there for everyone to read. We say enough is enough. This nonsense can no longer be tolerated at all. People have perished because of this land. They died for the land.”
Gen Chiwenga went on: “You think you can divide people, to divide and rule, and bring confusion to the people.
“No, it doesn’t work like that.
“This spirit of Sodom and Gomorrah, of homosexuals should go back where it came from …
“And this programme (Command Agriculture) we will support it, and support our Commander-in-Chief. It must continue until the end.”
Gen Chiwenga said over and above his right as a citizen to speak on such issues, the military was part of Command Agriculture’s implementation by virtue of Air Marshal Perrance Shiri’s vice-chairmanship of a subcommittee involved in steering the policy.
And then again apparently reverting to Prof Moyo’s recalcitrant behaviour, Gen Chiwenga said: “This guy who is vomiting that nonsense, didn’t he get support from Command Agriculture? He has some other forces behind him. Hasn’t he written in his books that he is going to destroy from within?
“We read. We are all educated. We read. He has said that. Everyone must see. He rebelled before. Not once. He rebelled when we were in the struggle, he ran away. When he was here he did all his nonsense, his column in the Financial Gazette.
“And in his book, when he was teaching, in his commentary on why he went to America — we know. When he left and went independent, was he repentant? And we know now that the tweeting is coming from Baba Jukwa and company; we know that.
“But I think he has got to where we wanted him to. Let me leave it at that,” Gen Chiwenga said. chronicle