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Army told to vote Mugabe or quit force

June 01, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

A top Zimbabwe army general called on the nation's soldiers to vote for Robert Mugabe in a presidential runoff or quit the military, the official media reported.

Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Martin Chedondo told troops at a target-shooting competition to leave the military if they did not support Mugabe, the state Herald newspaper reported.

"Soldiers are not apolitical. Only mercenaries are apolitical. We have signed up and agreed to fight and protect the ruling party's principles of defending the revolution. If you have other thoughts, then you should remove that uniform," he was quoted as saying.

He said Mugabe was head of the nation's defense forces.

"We should therefore stand behind our commander in chief," he reportedly said.

The country's generals, mostly veterans of the bush war that led to independence from Britain in 1980, have vowed never to salute Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, if he were to become president.

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