Dr Obert Mpofu Special Correspondent
ON behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe and indeed on my own behalf as the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, let me from the onset express our deepest condolences to families that lost their loved ones during today’s coordinated, preconceived act of violence leading to destruction of property and ultimate loss life.
We condemn in the strongest terms these acts of violence which have reared their ugly face in Harare CBD and we attribute to the MDC Alliance.
The Government of Zimbabwe places full responsibility for the violence, destruction of property, injury and loss of life on the MDC-Alliance which has continuously and persistently churned out hate speech, inflammatory language and displayed propensity for violence since February 2018.
MDC-Alliance’s political leadership has over the past three months heightened and psyched up their members to commit violence at political rallies, addressing Press conferences and even on social media.
Let me cite these specific incidences out of a host others where the MDC-Alliance leaders exhibited reckless and careless statements:
On the 28th of February 2018, public violence during the funeral of the late Morgan Tsvangirai in Buhera, MDC supporters attempted to set ablaze Thokozani Khupe and other members following a leadership wrangle between her and Nelson Chamisa. On the 14th of March, rowdy MDC supporters stormed an office where Thokozani Khupe was conducting a meeting and attacked and injured her and some of her supporters in the process.
On the 21st of March 2018, Zvamaida Murwira of The Herald and Anna Chibhamu, a freelance journalist, were assaulted at Harvest House in Harare.
Recently, ZBC journalists were also assaulted by MDC supporters in Mashonaland East Province in full view of Nelson Chamisa
In another recent incident, an MDC-Alliance aspiring candidate was severely assaulted in full view of Nelson Chamisa for simply inquiring on his candidature status.
On the 23rd of July, MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa openly used threatening language towards his rival His Excellency, President ED Mnangagwa and ZEC chairperson Justice Chigumba and openly said “there would be serious trouble and consequences if my will does not prevail” — and this was said in Shona.
Happymore Chidziva, the MDC-Alliance youth secretary, openly issued a threat of violence whilst addressing a rally in Gweru on the 23rd of July when he said, “Hokoyo Mnangagwa! Hokoyo Mnangagwa! Hokoyo moto uyo!” literally meaning we are going to commit unclassified acts of violence and there will be serious trouble.
On the 29th of July 2018, Advocate Thabani Mpofu also incited MDC-Alliance supporters through his utterances that Chamisa was going to be the winner and anything to the contrary was not going to be accepted.
In terms of ethics and legal conduct this was unprofessional, dishonourable qualities of a lawyer.
The Government will launch a complaint with the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
On the 31st of July 2018, Tendai Biti reiterated the same utterances that his party will not accept any result in which Nelson Chamisa is not declared winner.
Therefore, he then urged his followers to demonstrate in what they termed peacefully demonstration to claim their votes.
On the 1st of August 2018 MDC youth leader Happymore Chidziva again addressed MDC-Alliance supporters and urged them to engage in the acts of public violence in Harare (CBD) and to besiege ZEC offices and the National Command Results Centre.
On the 1st of August 2018 Nelson Chamisa thanked his supporters for allegedly putting him into power and stated that no amount of rigging will stop his victory. All these acts and others seem to have been a build-up of tension which was consummated today through acts of violence.
May I reiterate the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other security institutions will remain on higher alert and continue to monitor the security situation in the country.
The Government has invoked section 37(1) of the Public and Security Act Chapter 11 which authorises the incorporation of the Zimbabwe National Army forces into the law enforcement agencies role of maintaining law and order strictly under the command of the police. Our security force is therefore to remain deployed across the country to maintain law and order.
Let me strongly warn the MDC-Alliance leadership and supporters who are engaging in acts of violence to desist from such acts.
The long arm of the law will certainly catch up with them and we will leave no stone unturned.
Meanwhile, we want to thank the generality of Zimbabweans who have heeded the call to remain peaceful and continue to observe the laws of the country. We urge them to continue with their normal, day to day activities.