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Military recuses self as Zanu (PF) blames MDC for violent protests


The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the military have denied having played a hand in the violence and looting that took place during last week’s protests as Zanu (PF) lays blame on the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance.

Addressing a joint press conference in Harare, the ZRP and Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokespersons shifted blame on their retired members and rogue civilians for having stolen their uniforms to loot and rob.

“Some of these uniforms worn by criminals were seized by rogue elements during the recent riots in Epworth and Chegutu. A case in point is a recent arrest of five armed robbers in Epworth, Harare on 14 January 2019, who were using police and military regalia to commit armed robberies, after hiring vehicles from car rental companies.

“We are therefore giving an ultimatum to individuals who have retired, deserted, absented themselves without official leave (AWOL) from service to immediately handover uniforms either to the police or the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. All those who do not comply with this directive will be flushed out by already deployed members of the security services. We are also appealing to members of the public who have information on such people who are not serving members and are abusing military/police regalia to report to the police,” said ZRP Spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba.

Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet and Presidential Spokesperson, George Charamba said the violence was pre-planned, pre-arranged by the MDC Alliance and its affiliates.

George Charamba said last month, there was a statement issued by a cabinet minister indicating that there were a number of meetings held by affiliates of the MDC Alliance and some foreigners working towards fomenting trouble in Zimbabwe.

 “People did not take that seriously and just before we left for this 4-nation tour, the President issued a statement through the relevant ministry, which also indicated that there was this preparation for violence.
“But above all, last year and soon after the elections, the MDC indicated that now that they had lost the elections and their constitutional court appeal, they were going to mount a series of demonstrations, whose overall goal was to try and force Zanu PF to accommodate them in the Government of National Unity (GNU), so really this is a culmination of a programme that was solely and squarely prepared and executed by the MDC, therefore which should be put on the doorstep of the MDC by way of responsibility and that is basically what is going to happen,” said George Charamba.
Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance is blaming Zanu (PF) led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa for failing to run the economy after the disputed elections of last year.
“The people of Zimbabwe gave the MDC Alliance the mandate to lead the country. Zanu (PF) stole the elections by capturing institutions like the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Courts. What is clear is that they managed to rig the elections but they can’t rig the economy. It is regrettable when the State unleashes violence on citizens protesting against the continued economic downfall. Zanu (PF), through the military is murdering civilians using live ammunition but no amount of force can defeat an idea whose time has come. It’s time for change and change will come,” said Nelson Chamisa, the President of the MDC Alliance in an interview with Spiked Online Media.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende