Break in the disposition of the Military
What shall we do? We should pursue a turnaround in the disposition of the military.
Dictators don’t rule alone. They rule with a monopoly on violence. They use the defense forces, the police, and the intelligence units. The regime is nothing without the enforcers. If the ability of the enforcers to enforce is reduced the regime loses power and gradually crumbles.
The break in the disposition of the army is a situation whereby the falcon cannot hear the falconer. Things fall apart because the center will not be able to hold.
For any revolution, the key moment is the day or time when the loyalty of the security forces to the regime dissolves and their disposition flips around in favor of the revolution. A democratic revolution is highly likely to succeed if it gets onto the right side of the military. After all the other courses of action have been implemented, the mother of all courses of action is to win the army.
The security forces should have political neutrality. That is not the case in Zimbabwe. That should be the case after the revolution. During the revolution, the only way to win is not for the army to be neutral. The army needs to be pro-revolution and pro-democracy. Once the revolution is complete, the military can peacefully return to barracks and develop political party neutrality.
That situation should be a milestone for the revolution. Getting to that point is the real revolution. It does not complete the revolution, because the revolution will only be complete when all the institutional changes have been implemented when freedom is guaranteed for all, and when a progressive just and equal society has been established.
The disposition of Zimbabwe’s security complex is pro-Zanu PF. That disposition is obviously a wrong ideological footing. Breaking that footing requires an ideological re-orientation. The soldier and policemen need to see themselves as Zimbabweans. They need to be weaned off the poisonous breast of Zanu PF ideology. They need to think on their own. They need to be assured of a better Zimbabwe for themselves without the arrogance and domination from their Zanu PF masters.
The change in the disposition will climax at the height of the revolution when the police and soldiers wilfully disobey instructions to shoot and kill innocent citizens. This is a possibility. It has happened elsewhere. After a lengthy showdown between security forces and civilians, the security forces will eventually flip to the side of the people.
In Sudan, it took way too long. In some places, it takes way too many innocent lives. In some places, it doesn't take much time and lives, as soon as the climatic phase of the revolution starts, the flipping of the military’s disposition starts as well. This is desirable. The revolution should minimize the carnage. Very little to no human beings should lose their lives, and the climactic phase should not last for a long time.
Sometimes what is desirable is not always attainable. Sometimes it involves tonnes of preparatory activities to obtain what is desired. That is the case with a revolution. If the people want a bloodless revolution (in the sense of no civilians murdered by the security forces), then the people should aim to change the disposition of the security forces way ahead of the climactic phase of the revolution. Instead of trying to change the opinions of the soldiers and the police during the confrontational phase of the revolution, the revolutionary brothers would carry out the mindset change swiftly and quietly before the confrontation. This is a very difficult task. It is difficult but nonetheless achievable.
The work of changing the opinions of the regime’s toys (soldiers, CIOs, and police) must be done before the masses are poured into the streets. The security apparatus should get to a point where they know that a revolution is forthcoming and do nothing to stop it. The regime’s toys should flip way ahead of mass action from the masses or triggering actions from the revolutionaries.
The work is delicate. The work is mental. The work involves de-propagandizing a propagandized body. The work involves establishing alternative sources of information for the regime’s toy. The work involves creating lines of communication that run parallel and sometimes adjacent to the formal authoritarian line of communication. The work involves a process of planting dreams and visions to a lot that rarely has dreams and visions regarding the future.
The work involves turning an unbeliever into a believer. For example, how do you make a soldier believe that in the new Zimbabwe he will be earning double what he is earning right now because all the corruption, leakages, inefficiencies, and bottlenecks would be eliminated, and the state is capacitated? The soldier has earned peanuts for all his adult life. Earning double his current earnings is a lofty and ludicrous proposition.
The Key Moments of the Struggle for Liberation are as follows:
- Break in the disposition of the CIO
- Break in the disposition of the police unit
- Break in the disposition of the army
The above is not in any order. They can all happen simultaneously. The break in the disposition of the CIO is great. The same goes for the police. But the ultimate decider is the break in the disposition of the army. It is a necessary precondition to the success of a revolution in the Zimbabwean context.
The Need for a Web of Revolutionary Enablers
Dr. Alex Magaisa documented the role played by the regime’s enablers. That BSR was on fire. What also needs to be documented is the role that can be played by enablers of the revolution.
The revolution cannot happen without people who push for the revolution. Evil can persist for so long because good people allow it to persist without taking any action, wishing that the evil system will just wither away.
The revolution needs its own set of enablers within and outside the system. Within the system, there are numerous disgruntled citizens who desire to live right and earn honest bread. It is hard to believe, but there are thousands of good and decent Zimbabweans within the oppressive machinery. These men and women survive from the system but are aware that a better system is needed and are in full support of a better system. They are trapped. It is impossible for them to revolt against the system when there is no alternative system in place. They can only act as enablers of the revolution when there is a revolution underway. They cannot spearhead the revolution, but they can enable it, from within.
Outside the system, the revolution needs brave men and women who can rise above the unproductive complaining and whining. Men and women who dedicate themselves to the liberation of the motherland. These brave people need to enable the revolution. The revolution needs vast skillsets from different areas of life. Out of the many different people shall emerge one revolution. Out of many comes one.
Beyond individuals, enablers of the revolution include humanitarian organizations, local big businesses, disenfranchised local groups such as Youths, Women, and war veterans, ghetto youths, the rural populations, and the diaspora. All these have the potential to enable the revolution. Their efforts (big or small) need to be harnessed and directed at furthering the revolution. Every constituency has a role to play. Mushandirapamwe. Nhimbe. All hands on deck. Groups that are not at the core of the revolution should still play a strong supportive role in the peripheral areas. This is what needs to be done. Groups, constituencies, societies, organizations, need to all work together in furtherance of the revolution’s goals. This demands a very high level of coordination.
Beyond our borders, the public sentiment in neighboring countries needs to be pro-revolution. To be specific, the sentiment in South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia need to be in strong support of the revolution. That public sentiment should then pressure the official sentiments of these republics into a pro-revolutionary stance. Neighboring countries should individually, and collectively (as SADC) be pushed into a pro-revolutionary stance even though they are traditionally reluctant to support such.
The list of enablers of the revolution should include:
- Security experts
- Military experts
- IT experts
- Legal experts
- Finance Experts
- Big businesspersons
- Multi-lateral institutions
- Political parties in neighboring countries
The combined efforts of the enablers of the revolution become an insurmountable mountain for the regime to climb over. The regime will be cornered from all sides.
The regime is nothing without its enablers. The revolution is also nothing without enablers of the revolution. Enablers make things happen. In Shona, there is a phrase, “vanoita kuti zviitike”. You cannot pull off a revolution without a web of enablers.
It is the enablers inside and outside of the military-industrial complex that will act as a catalyst for that break in the disposition of the army. Enablers within the regime’s security complex act as lubricants that will further the goals of the revolution. They will gradually break the religious allegiance to the regime that their fellow officers have.
Enablers within the security apparatus will dilute the hard-line stance of the regime towards the people of Zimbabwe. They would be able to gradually do this without awakening the top echelons of the regime.
There are several things that precede the break in the military’s disposition towards the oppressive Zanu PF elite. One of those things is the nationwide consensus that the system needs to be changed. Beyond the enablers, and enabling groups, it must be crystal clear to the entire nation that the system needs to go and that the time to do so is now.
The task of the revolutionary brother and sister is to lead the nation to this point. The military cannot flip or defect when the people are not yet united or haven't reached a consensus in terms of what needs to be done.
- the people must agree that the shitty system needs to be removed (i.e., assessment of the current predicament).
- the people must agree that a revolution is necessary (i.e., what needs to be done).
- the people must be ready.
Only then can the military change its disposition.
Those in favor of the revolution should advance the idea to a wider audience. The gospel of a revolution should reach all. At first, people will take the idea as silly, but when repeated numerous times, they will take it seriously. The task then shifts to “making people ready”. This is not something that happens in a single day, which is why I emphasized that the revolution is a 10-year affair.
It is impossible to convert the entire military forces into pro-democracy units. However, the defection of key critical personnel will be key in how the military responds to the revolution. Defections in critical positions at the top are almost impossible, but the defection of middle-rank officers is possible. The defection of the low-rank soldiers (the foot soldiers) is highly likely, or inevitable, given enough time.
Those in favor of the revolution should thus target their efforts where results are easy to yield; the low rank and the middle-rank officers.
The key is to break the loyalty of the security apparatus to the Zanu PF regime. That is the ultimate key to the liberation of the motherland and the establishment of the democratic state of Zimbabwe.
Attempting a revolution without establishing tacit or active support from those who currently protect the regime is unadvisable. It is not a wise endeavor.
The only way that would work is not the revolution way. It is the civil war way, whereby those with alternative views of administering the country take up arms and form their own military wings to fight against the security apparatus that protects the oppressive regime.
That (the civil war) is not an advisable route. Civil wars are unnecessarily bloody. They take up a lot of resources (human lives, infrastructure, and military equipment) to obtain a change in governance systems (something that can be attained via the revolution way, i.e., a complete change in many things)