Chamisa dares ED & Chiwenga

HARARE - An angry opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, yesterday threw the gauntlet at both President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga — challenging them to also testify at the official probe looking into the August 1 killings which saw at least six civilians being shot dead in Harare.

This comes after Chamisa was asked to appear before the Commission of Inquiry which was set up by Mnangagwa to investigate the deadly shootings — which followed ugly demonstrations in the capital soon after the disputed July 30 elections.

This, in turn, followed the testimonies of army and police chiefs, who suggested this week that a militant wing in the MDC — the Vanguard — was responsible for the shootings.

Addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday, Chamisa said the spirit of fairness dictated that the Commission of Inquiry also called Mnangagwa and Chiwenga to come and answer to allegations that they had deployed the military in the capital to quell the August 1 violence.

“If they are to be fair, what is good for the goose must certainly be good for the gander. They must be able to invite Mnangagwa. They must be able to invite Chiwenga.

“That is why we have said there is folly in that commission because you cannot invite Mnangagwa so that you report to him.

“Mnangagwa cannot investigate himself because he has been implicated. We would like to see if Mnangagwa is invited. If he is not invited, why should I go alone?”
Chamisa asked rhetorically.

“We are extremely concerned by the attitude of the State institutions, particularly our army, particularly our police, in that they view the MDC — a key national State actor — as an opponent.

“We do not seek to replace the army. We do not seek to replace the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation). We do not seek to replace the police. We seek to remove those at the top who are abusing these institutions because that is what the Constitution asks us to do,” Chamisa added.

“We are not a prohibited organisation. We are represented in Parliament. In fact, we are a government in local governments.

“Mnangagwa can say that he was declared (winner), but to be declared there must be a contestant. So, we are part of the matrix of government.

“So in that context, you cannot try to bastardise or criminalise our activities, as has happened in the past,” Chamisa said further — referring to the arrest of the late former Vice President Joshua Nkomo, who was tormented by ousted former president Robert Mugabe in the 1980s on accusations of training dissidents.

Mnangagwa appointed the current inquiry in September, to probe the August 1 deaths which sullied the relatively peaceful July 30 national elections which had been widely hailed up to that point.

The seven-member commission is led by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe.

The other members of the team are academics Lovemore Madhuku and Charity Manyeruke, Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) ex-president Vimbai Nyemba, Rodney Dixon of the United Kingdom, former Tanzanian chief of the defence forces General Davis Mwamunyange and ex-Commonwealth secretary-general Chief Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria.

Things at the probe got heated this week after security chiefs testified on Monday, wholly absolving the military of the killings in the process.

The commander of the Defence Forces, Phillip Valerio Sibanda, and police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga, also appeared to blame the MDC and Chamisa for the deaths.

In ominous remarks, Sibanda also said the military would soon be availing evidence showing that the army did not kill people on the fateful day — instead, fingering an outfit called the Vanguard, which is a militant group linked to the MDC youth wing.

“The possibility of the Vanguard, the military group within the MDC Alliance youth league, having weapons and having used these weapons during the disturbances on that day cannot be overruled.

“There is no hard evidence that the army shot at the civilians, but it is also believed that members of the MDC’s Vanguard could have been armed,” the reclusive general told the commission.

Matanga also told the commission that police had temporarily shelved plans to arrest Chamisa because of ongoing political talks which were aimed at giving the youthful politician a top post in Parliament.

“I still feel that it would be very improper to arrest the leader of the opposition party in the name of ... Chamisa because this is a position that was formed by the president.

“I still feel today that the president’s doors are open and (so) I cannot arrest Chamisa. But all the same, I can say crime does not rot like meat and anytime he can be arrested,” he said.

In the meantime, a defiant Chamisa told journalists yesterday that he was ready for any eventuality.

“We are ready for any eventuality. They can arrest me but they cannot arrest the economy. Problems are not solved by vindictiveness. Problems are not solved by revenge.

“They (security forces) searched Harvest House since this party was formed, but they have not found any arms. They have only found love. But now, they say you contested and defeated me in an election so I will punish you.

“If you look at all the witnesses, not a single citizen has an issue with Chamisa except some in the State, who are working on a scripted and well-choreographed narrative to try and say Chamisa must come,” he said.

“How does Matanga speak about incitement and then say Chamisa has been given a position, and therefore we are waiting. Why should law enforcement be subjected to some of those vicissitudes of political considerations?

“It shows you there are issues to nudge me into a forced arrangement, into a forced marriage, into a rape. I want love not rape.

“This is why I have said we want dialogue in this country. We have said to Mnangagwa these are the issues at the table. We are ready anytime to engage,” Chamisa said

Comments (8)

Very apt response, why should the govt operate as if it wants to coerce /blackmail the opposition into assimilation by threatening arrests? Sounds very dubious with foul motives...

Sagitarr - 16 November 2018

In a true democracy everyone should testify including the very top and the head of the commission should call for it what a useless commission of inquiry f they are going to leave out certain people in authority anyway this is a banan republic where things like this do not happen

Kjoe - 16 November 2018

My hope and wish is to show love and unit among us at moment time of difficult period.Lets us plant in our hearts the spirit of hope ,unit and love to defeat those hope Zimbabwe to fail.The division among usthat results the death of our six brothers and sisters which reining us up to date where we are still pointing fingers. The division that resulted us fail to reconcile to be sons and daughters of Zimbabwe but preferred to promote the hostility in us.I hope ruling party and oppositions must sowed words of love,unit and peace to us. Six deaths is history,Army shooting is history and commission will be history but Zimbabwe will stand as Zimbabwe with you and me as Zimbabwean till God apart us.

Musha - 16 November 2018

Motlanthe wasn't picked by error!

Lloyd - 17 November 2018

Problem with patronage is glaringly obvious no matter how one tries to conceal it. Mugabe created a monolith, and so now our nation suffers from a tendency to tell a lie when even if the truth would help. We want to know who gave the order to open fire on those unarmed civilians, We need to know why one army got different orders from unknown sources and shot demonstrators without a clear chain of command. Who is in charge of the Army as we speak, because am afraid that with this kind of confusion in our security services we might find our country at war without knowing who ordered the troops to arms.. Who is in charge..and who gave the order that brought those soldiers out onto the streets? That is the essence of this find out who did what...and make informed decisions thereafter for the avoidance of such unfortunate incidences...

C. Kandez - 17 November 2018

Chamisa incited the violence and that is what led to soldiers going into the streets. Shooting at innocent civilians is not acceptable and should not be allowed at all costs. Chamisa, using Raila Odinga style should get the same punishment as that of the soldiers. Chamisa made it clear before the elections that he will make the country ungovernable. I totally support those who nailed him during the commission of enquiry. The guy belongs to Chikurubi period.

2018 - 17 November 2018

I think our army ,and Valerio Sibanda in particular are a destitute of common sense anything they are saying is predetermined and therefore a lie in the spirit of equality before the law and fairness why are they ,Munangagwa and Chiwenga not called upon to testify.

edd chihambakwe - 17 November 2018

Chamisa 's reasoning is very shallow . Mnangagwa and Chiwenga have not been accused of anything . All that has been said is that they procedure of deploying the army was followed which includes consulting the President via the minister . That fact is not disputed so what does he want ED and Chiwenga to answer to ? Giving the go ahead to deploy the army is not a crime . Chamisa is accused of inciting the violence by his supporters which he has to respond to . Why then does he want ED and Chiwenga summoned ? May be after Chamisa has made accusations against ED and Chiwenga will they then be called to testify . May be all you want is for them to simply come and say yes they authorized the deployment . Chamisa is always referring to rape in his speeches . The issue of rape seems to be deep in his heart . I am starting to think he has been involved in rape some how . Thats why he refers to rape every now and then .

Hayibo - 17 November 2018

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