Zanu-PF backers justify army use of deadly force

Zanu-PF backers justify army use of deadly force
Published: 20 October 2018 (208 Views)
A public hearing on the August 1 violence entered a third day at a hotel in the capital yesterday, with Zanu-PF supporters claiming that the army cannot be blamed for the election unrest that turned deadly as soldiers opened fire on opposition protesters, saying the MDC Alliance should take full responsibility for the loss of lives.

This emerged at a public hearing of a commission of inquiry put in place to investigate the post-election violence that left at least six people dead and countless others injured.

The commission includes former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, presidential candidate Lovemore Madhuku, former Tanzania defence chief Davis Mwamunyange, former president of the law society of Zimbabwe, Vimbai Nyemba and British human rights lawyer Rodney Dixon QC.

The seven-member team is looking into events preceding the violence on August 1 and the "motives and strategies employed in the protests".

The commission is also investigating the circumstances which necessitated the involvement of the military in the maintenance of law and order and whether the degree of force used was appropriate to the threat.

The army was deployed in the capital after police proved unable to quell MDC demonstrators who claimed the historic July 30 election was being rigged. Much of the city centre resembled a war zone, with military helicopters flying overhead, armoured personnel carriers moving through burning debris and patrols of soldiers chasing stone throwers down narrow streets. Terrified citizens took cover in shop doorways or behind walls still covered in posters bearing portraits of election candidates as volleys of shots rang out and stones flew through the air. Witnesses reported seeing soldiers beating people with makeshift batons and shooting wantonly.

Despite relatives testifying that their deceased relatives were murdered by members of the military, pro-Zanu-PF backers justified the use of deadly force.

Tendai Chirawu, the secretary for administration for the Zanu-PF youth league, justified the involvement of the army, saying it was clear that the police with their water cannons were unable to control the marauding crowds.

"He said the intervention of the police was fully justified in the interest of maintenance of law and order.

Terrence Mugwadi, a political commentator who made it clear in his testimony that he was a supporter of the ruling party, said he did not witness the army action on August 1, but claimed there was a clear putsch by the MDC Alliance to unconstitutionally seize power.  "This was not a demo for results but an attempt for power seizure.

"War songs were being sung and people were frog-marched into that demo. MDC engages in violent activities within the CBD; they think they own Harare," Mugwadi said.

"I wouldn't want to give speculative evidence on what I saw. I cannot say I saw the army."

The MDC has made statements challenging the composition of the commission and alleging that it has ‘‘murky'' intentions against the party.

Testifying on Wednesday, secretary-general of the MDC youth, Lovemore Chinoputsa said the commission had an agenda of smearing dirt on the MDC, a development that is surprising in a ‘‘new dispensation'' where relationships are expected to be amended. Ignatius Neshawa, a brother in–law to the late Ishamel Kumire - a vendor who was shot in the cross-fire - said the soldiers showed no mercy as they unfurled their operation. He told the commission that when he tried to present the bullet cartridge to the police after the incident as evidence, he was rudely dismissed.

"I saw my brother-in-law falling; he actually fell on my feet.  I thought he had tripped and fell as people were running away from the soldiers. He had fallen head wards, when I turned him, I saw a cartridge," he told the commission.

"About nine soldiers arrived on the spot; one pointed a gun at me and told me to leave immediately. He was actually ready to fire.

"I told him to go ahead and shoot as they had already killed my brother-in-law."

The testifying relatives alleged that hospital officials made attempts to conceal the cause of death as gunshot wounds. He said the number of people who were killed on the day in question was also understated.

- dailynews

Tags: Zanu-PF, Army, Force,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Deadly ZANU PF officials plot to oust Mnangagwa

by Mandla Ndlovu | 21 January 2019 | 32 Views

Emotions charge up as Army victims are buried

by Mandla Ndlovu | 21 January 2019 | 31 Views

BREAKING: Mnangagwa dumps Davos trip and heads home

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 January 2019 | 490 Views

Kazakhstan firms keen on Zimbabwe investment

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 178 Views

No South African bailout for Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 305 Views

Zimbabwe security services to use brutal force

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 322 Views

Zimbabwe on brink of diplomatic row with US, Germany

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 354 Views

Econet to reimburse subscribers over shutdown

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 161 Views

BREAKING: MDC Chairperson Tabitha Khumalo goes into hiding

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 January 2019 | 208 Views

Four simple Rules to solve the Zim financial crisis

by Colls Ndlovu | 20 January 2019 | 271 Views

'Dodgy' NGO blasts Mnangagwa's government

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 457 Views

Bulawayo looting had SA flare

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 252 Views

Cry my beloved Zimbabwe . . . as country is closed for business

by Staff rpeorter | 20 January 2019 | 196 Views

Zimbabwe's horror 2019 unfolds

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 273 Views

Price hikes fail to end fuel crisis

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 167 Views

Mnangagwa faces uphill task to re-engage world

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 168 Views

Security roadblocks all-over Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 166 Views

Mnangagwa must just do the right thing

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 179 Views

Soldiers warn organisers of last week's demonstrations

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 242 Views

Chamisa's violence streak

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 186 Views

MDC hawks in the dock

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 145 Views

Mnangagwa forges ties with Azerbaijan

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 169 Views

Zimbabwe counts cost of violent stay-away

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 183 Views

Zanu PF goes mad – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

by ZimVigil | 20 January 2019 | 185 Views

Felton Kamambo defines his reign

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 119 Views

'Chamisa and his allies will be held accountable'

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 140 Views

MDC-Alliance's orgy of violence

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 148 Views

Is Chiyangwa behind board divisions?

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 135 Views

'Mnangagwa, take us back to Egypt!'

by Bishop Lazarus | 20 January 2019 | 155 Views

Chitungwiza looters are well-known

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 126 Views

'Information as a threat to national security'

by Senator Monica Mutsvangwa | 20 January 2019 | 165 Views

Govt avails $1 per route buses

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 146 Views

Civil servants start receiving allowances

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 153 Views

Fuel deliveries resume

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 136 Views

Fifa to pay $8 million Zifa debts

by Staff reporter | 20 January 2019 | 114 Views