15 August 2018

Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Accused of Ducking Responsibility Over Military Shootings

Photo: The Herald
Commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces President Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Phillip Valerio Sibanda inspect a Guard of Honour during Defence Forces Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.

As Zimbabwe marked the Heroes and Defence Forces day on Monday and Tuesday respectively, opposition political parties have accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of ducking responsibility over the shooting of innocent civilians by soldiers soon after the July 30 elections.

Writing on her Twitter account, Linda Masarira, Spokesperson of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Dr Thokozani Khupe said the tragic death of innocent civilians at the hands of soldiers was enough reason to dissuade people from attending the Defence Forces Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.

She called for justice and accountability for the lives lost saying people must not celebrate soldiers who murder innocent civilians.

"I am shocked that people actually went out in their thousands to celebrate defence forces that murder innocent unarmed civilians. Cry my beloved Zimbabwe Cry! We have to amplify our voices and demand justice and accountability for the lives lost," said Masarira.

MDC Alliance Presidential spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda said his boss Nelson Chamisa was saddened by Mnangagwa's refusal to take responsibility for the 1st of August civilian killings.

"President-Elect Advocate Nelson Chamisa is saddened and finds unfortunate the reality that President-Declared ED Mnangagwa continues to lack the basic understanding of leadership. He is still trying to dive and duck on the military murders," Sibanda said.

Meanwhile, the Heroes and Defence Forces day commemorated were unusually dull with the giant National Sports stadium not as packed as it used to be during the former President Robert Mugabe era.

History of political interference and siding with the ruling party coupled with the recent shootings have dampened the relationship between soldiers and civilians who in November last year were praising the military for dethroning Mugabe.

Although President elect, Emmerson Mnangagwa, highlighted the importance of national security and peace as key factors to development in his defence forces day speech, there was limited approval from the crowds gathered in the stadium.

In his Heroes and Defence Forces day speeches, President Emmerson Mnangagwa blamed the opposition MDC Alliance for the post election violence that led to the death of six civilians when soldiers opened live ammunition to disperse the protesting crowds.

"I am however deeply concerned with the incidents of violence that rocked the streets of Harare at the instigation of some members of the MDC Alliance leadership, which subsequently resulted in the regrettable loss of lives, injury to persons and damage to property," said Mnangagwa.

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