Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

‘Govt riots explanation laughable’

By Tendai Kamhungira

Questions have been raised over government’s claims that police and army deserters were responsible for the riots and mayhem that characterised a three-day stay-away, which reportedly led to the death of at least 12 people.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces Spokesperson Colonel Overson Mugwisi (right) with Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba (left) during a press conference on Police and Army personnel clashes in town. (Picture by John Manzongo)
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Spokesperson Colonel Overson Mugwisi (right) with Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba (left) during a press conference on Police and Army personnel clashes in town. (Picture by John Manzongo)

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, police spokesperson Charity Charamba told journalists deserters were behind the riots.

This is despite claims by State security minister Owen Ncube, who blamed the MDC and civil society organisations of causing the disturbances.

Observers have criticised the latest statement by government, claiming the explanation leaves a lot to be desired.

UK-based Kent University law lecturer Alex Magaisa expressed dismay over government’s explanation on social media, accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime of being dishonest and lacking probity.

“Their default setting is to blame the MDC and NGOs. Security minister simply followed this tired script. It was implausible, absurd and laughable. So they came up with another theory — our uniforms were stolen, deserters and retired officers kept uniforms. It’s amateurish and worse.

“Their theory does not explain how thousands of them ended up with military and police trucks plus guns and ammunition. Did the criminals steal these too? Did retired officers take them home when they left? It’s completely absurd but that’s what makes them a laughing stock,” Magaisa said.

The police presser, which they jointly held with the army, came as dozens of people are being treated of gunshot wounds, while others were shot dead.

The police’s heavy-handedness has received widespread condemnation from human rights and international organisations. The organisations have asked the government to exercise restraint and investigate cases of human rights abuse.

Amid this condemnation, Zimbabweans, have however been left with more questions than answers, especially after the police claims.

MDC official David Coltart described the explanation as bizarre.

“…Kafkaesque happenings in #Zimbabwe. If you find yourself in a hole stop digging! Having been caught red handed it now appears rogue elements in uniform are now accused of fomenting the violence this week. This can only complicate things even more for the regime,” Coltart wrote on Twitter.

Another observer Pedzisai Ruhanya said the joint statement by the army and police was an embarrassment.

“The joint statement by Zimbabwe’s police and army/security services is the greatest embarrassment and tomfoolery in Africa South of the Sahara in this sector since Idi Amin!” he said on Twitter. Daily News