Army action was necessary: ZDF, ZRP

By Tawanda Musariri

Police and Army top brass has come out in full defence of the military action in averting anarchy on August 1, 2018 where six civilians died following unrest on the streets of Harare.

The security bosses were testifying before a Commission of inquiry investigating the events of the fateful day.

Both organisations were represented at the highest levels by their bosses, namely police Commissioner General Tandabantu Godwin Matanga and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Phillip Valerio Sibanda. Both men, giving their respective testimonies at different times, were in agreement that the military action against the demonstrators was delivered with minimum force commensurate with the threat at hand.

There was unanimous agreement between the two organisations that without the military force, destruction of more life and property was inevitable under the circumstances at hand. Commissioner General Matanga said, though the loss of life was very regrettable, the police felt they had reacted in reasonably and in accordance with the law.

Giving his evidence prior, Officer Commanding Harare District in the Police force, Chief Superintendant Albert Ncube said he had sent a request for military back up to quell the disturbances after his officers were outnumbered by the marauding demonstrators who had shown a determined intention to overrun the Elections Command Centre at the Rainbow Hotel as well as torching important Government buildings as well as Zanu PF offices at Rotten Row and fourth street respectively.  

Commander of the Presidential Guard Unit that executed the operation under the auspices of the National Reaction Force, Brigadier General Anslem Nhamo Sanyatwe said the military did not injure or kill anyone in the street. He said that there was likelihood that some malcontents sponsored by the opposition MDC shot and killed innocent civilians with the intention of brewing anarchy during a sensitive political environment.

The MDC had been demonstrating against what they perceived to be a delay in announcing presidential election results. This was despite that the law allowed the election management body ZEC four more days within which to conclude the announcement of results.

Brig Gen Sanyatwe also said that some business persons in the CBD may have shot and killed in defence of their business premises that were a target for looting by the marauding picketers.

The hearings are concluding today.