Various opinion leaders and Zimbabwean internet users have blasted Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Ndavaningi ‘Nick’ Mangwana for ‘disrespecting the dead’ after he issued a statement exonerating the security forces in the killings of innocent civilians since President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s disputed poll victory in 2018.
In response to the extension of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the United States Wednesday this week, Mangwana wrote:
“The Government of Zimbabwe strongly objects to the unfounded assertion that its security forces engaged in acts of extrajudicial killings and rape against its own citizens last year. Any acts of criminality by anyone are subjected to the criminal justice processes of the country”.
“We have embarked on a pathway of reform because it is in the best interests of our Nation to do so, and it is also necessary to align our policies and programmes with our policies”, said Mangwana.
Mangwana’s sentiments are in diametric contrast to the findings of the Kgalema Mothlante-led Commission of Inquiry into the August 1 military shootings which resulted in the killings of six unarmed civilians while the seventh succumbed to the skirmishes. The Motlanthe Commission literally labelled the army as scapegoats for the killings and made recommendations for security sector reforms.
But following the Harare administration’s statement Wednesday, Zimbabweans from across the breadth came out guns blazing on Harare in general, and Mangwana in particular.
One such critic is revered lawyer and former Chief of Staff in late MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai’s prime ministerial office during the epoch of the inclusive government, Alex Magaisa. The later made a passionate plea on Mangwana to respect ‘the dead’.
“By all means raise objections as you please but have some respect for victims. 1 August 2018 (and) January 2019 citizens were killed. The Montlanthe Commission you set up said security forces were responsible for August 1. Those were extrajudicial killings Secretary”, charged Magaisa
“You say any acts of criminality by anyone are subjected to the criminal justice processes of the country.
Who has been prosecuted for the murders in August 2018 and January 2019? Have there been any investigations at all (and) if so, what were the outcomes Secretary?” Magaisa queried.
However, he was not the only one on micro-blogging Twitter to angrily react to the statement:
“Unfounded ASSERTION! These guys (are) something else. Unless they start to get shot too they won’t understand how families of those murdered at 45°angles feel. How can a sane person even sit down (and write) that trash?” quipped another user.
A user who adopted the identity Gutu Chitova was apparently aggressive:
“As citizens we nolonger want anything to do with this evil (Zanu PF Government) we (should) just stand up and face them head on”.
The main opposition MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa has declared 2020 as a ‘year of action’, hinting on mass protests to eject Zanu PF and Mnangagwa off the helm.