‘Soldiers trained to foil protests not feed porridge,’ boasts Matemadanda
Deputy defence minister Victor Matemadanda has admitted the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) is always ready to thwart public demonstration against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime, sensationally claiming that soldiers “are not trained to feed porridge to the masses.”
Matemadanda who is also the Zanu PF national political commissar warned the main opposition MDC Alliance and other political activists against conducting demonstrations because the state security would descend heavily on them.
Matemadanda made the claims in Chinhoyi on Sunday during the ruling party’s Mashonaland West provincial coordinating committee meeting.
“Do they allow hooligans to burn shops in Britain? The police will use minimum force and if they don’t succeed in dispersing demonstrators it’s fine. But at the company (defence ministry) where l work, they are not trained in using minimum force. Our soldiers are not trained to feed porridge, they defend the country’s territorial integrity. I urge you to run home when you see them coming,” he said.
Matemadanda accused the United Kingdom of working with the main opposition to push a regime change agenda in Zimbabwe.
“You used to say (former President Robert) Mugabe was bad, now ED (Mnangagwa) has opened up, but still Britain attacks us. They must shut up. We’ve no apology to make about liberating ourselves.
“No-one has championed reforms more than President Mnangagwa, as Mugabe never allowed observers (to monitor elections), now they can come freely,” Matemadanda added.
Regardless of gaining power in the ruling party, Matemadanda is attacked by critics as ‘just a taxi driver during the liberation struggle who was no longer relevant in a post-independence Zimbabwe.’
The Zanu PF administration has always been accused of using repression to silence dissent.
In July this year, the convenor of a 31st July protests against corruption in Mnangagwa’s government, Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume was arrested together with journalist Hopewell Chin’ono. They were charged with inciting violence.
In January 2019, Zimbabwean security forces used excessive lethal force to crush nationwide protests. This was after Mnangagwa’s sudden announcement of a fuel price increase of 150 percent resulted in three days of demonstrations throughout the country.
On 1 August 2018, soldiers and anti-riot police were implicated in the deaths of at least six people and serious injuries to dozens more during a clampdown on post-election protests in Harare.