Stop playing with fire: Shiri

AGRICULTURE minister and former Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) commander Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri yesterday warned those behind the “terrorist” explosion that rocked the Zanu PF campaign rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo on Saturday injuring 49 that they were “playing with fire”.

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA/ RICHARD CHIDZA/ NQOBANI NDLOVU/ KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA

Shiri’s warning came a day after President Emmerson Mnangagwa escaped death by a whisker following an explosion that left scores of people seriously injured including senior government officials — Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, Zanu PF chair Oppah Muchinguri and party commissar Engelbert Rugeje.

Addressing a campaign rally at Nhakiwa business centre in Uzumba district of Mashonaland East province, Shiri described the attack as an act of terrorism targeted at Mnangagwa and his top allies.

“Do not revenge, as the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the police are investigating the issue. We are not there to seek revenge. Those who are doing that think that maybe we are fools, but this is what we call playing with fire. We do not want to point fingers at each other over this. Be careful and when you see someone suspicious at a rally, just alert the police,” he said, describing the attack as an act of extremism.

His utterances came as Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo issued a statement describing the attack as barbaric.

“While these primitive, satanic and heinous acts of terror are being subjected to the highest measure of the law, Zanu PF remains unflinching and resolute towards achieving the goal of peace and above all else the goal of uplifting the people’s livelihoods. Notwithstanding the disturbances, the party will continue its campaign programmes as scheduled,” he said.

The crime scene was teeming with security details yesterday as they scoured for leads in a bid to piece together the causes of the incident that has little precedence in Zimbabwe.

But it was Shiri’s comments that could likely stoke tensions.

Shiri commanded the 5th Brigade that reportedly wreaked havoc in the western parts of the country in what is now known as Gukurahundi.

Up to 20 000 civilians were reportedly killed in an orgy of violence targeting then opposition leader Joshua Nkomo’s supporters under the guise of hunting down a handful of dissidents in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces.

“The President is preaching about peace but yesterday (Saturday) someone was possessed by the (Biblical) spirit of Legion (and) wanted to destroy the leader of the party. We are preaching peace and others are

responding with terrorism. That is what we call terrorism, down with terrorism. This has never happened in the history of Zimbabwe,” the former AFZ boss said.

Addressing a separate campaign rally at Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza yesterday, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga said the Saturday attack would not derail preparations for the July 30 polls.

“Let me make this very clear, nothing will stop the elections in Zimbabwe, nothing at all,” he said.

Chiwenga also described the incident as an act of terror.

“That act of terrorism that happened in Bulawayo is nothing and it does not deter any, but if the colleagues running in the harmonised elections on 30 July are afraid and scared, they will be given security. The police will hunt down the criminals, and they will be brought before the law, but this does not stop anything. We must all continue to campaign peacefully because we want an election which is free from violence fair and credible.”

Yesterday, government offered an as yet to be disclosed reward to anyone with information relating to the attack.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba told journalists in Harare yesterday that a “substantial reward has been offered” for someone with information leading to the arrest of the suspects.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is, therefore, appealing for more information to aid the ongoing inquiries. A substantial reward is being offered and anyone with information should contact CID (Central Investigations Department), the national complaints desk or the nearest police station,” Charamba said at a press briefing.
Charamba said the number of those injured had risen from 41 to 49 and was expected to go up.

She could, however, not be drawn into revealing the quantum of the reward but insisted “it is quite substantial.” Charamba also appealed to the media for videos of the rally to help police with investigations.

Health minister David Parirenyatwa said he had visited one of three seriously injured victims at Mpilo Central Hospital.

“There were three people seriously injured. I have just visited one of them who were left with his guts out; we hope he will be well. He has been operated on. The other two have head and leg injuries respectively,” he said.

An unidentified device detonated as Mnangagwa and his top lieutenants were leaving the podium at the end of the rally, leaving dozens injured some with broken limbs.
Amateur videos showed a plume of dust going up into the air seconds after Mnangagwa alighted from the staircase and just as Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga was about to make his way out.

Chiwenga’s wife, Marry was reportedly hit by shrapnel from the blast along with Mohadi, Muchinguri and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mabel Chinomona.

Mpilo Hospital health clinical director, Solwayo Ngwenya said of the 29 people admitted at the hospital, 13 were discharged on Saturday night.

“Twenty-nine people were admitted at the hospital on Saturday, 13 were discharged after receiving treatment while 16 are still admitted,” Ngwenya said.

Asked about the degree of the injuries, Ngwenya said some of the injured were yet to go for surgery, while others were in intensive care.

“There are some with life-threatening injuries as well as some with life-changing injuries. Some of them underwent surgery last night and were in the intensive care and more are still to go for surgeries for broken limbs,” Ngwenya said.

Several opposition parties, churches, civil society groups, foreign diplomats and regional bodies condemned the attack, saying it was likely to stoke violence ahead of next month’s general elections.

Main opposition MDC-T and MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa said violence had no place in Zimbabwean politics.

African Union Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, yesterday said the attack was unjustified under any circumstances.

“The chairperson of the commission reiterates the importance of the elections scheduled for July 30, 2018. Their successful conduct will mark a major step in the efforts to enhance democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

“It should be recalled that, in response to the request made by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) during the chairperson’s visit to Harare in February 2018, the African Union Commission has extended technical assistance to the Zec. A team of observers will also be deployed to observe the elections,” he said.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also chair of the Southern African Development Community said the bloc would evaluate the incident and “take appropriate steps”.

Ramaphosa added that acts of violence and criminality had no place in the democratic process of any sovereign state within the region.

The United States embassy in Harare also denounced the attack.

“Political violence in any form is unacceptable and contrary to the positive progress required to move Zimbabwe forward as it seeks to take its place on the global stage. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families,” the embassy said in a statement.

56 Comments

  1. Comment…We have now have to resort to the war time pungwe gathering system whereby everyone must know who is next to him/her.

    1. speak for yourself, not everyone supports and is a member of zvenyu pf.

    2. Well said, Cde Mauyu. Ngatiziwanei!!

  2. indeed it is barbbaric and very disturbing that in this day and age we still have people of this nature in our society who behave like deranged dogs and the sooner they are removed from this country the better no matter what methods are used.

  3. Luke Munya Mabika

    Why not first give reward to anyone with information relating to the abduction and disappearance without a trace of rights activist Itai Dzamara?This explosion is most likely to have been stage managed or it is just the unending war between G40 and Lacoste.I hope it was not done to use as an excuse to blame the opposition parties for trying to kill their president hence the tormenting and arrests of innocent opposition party leaders and their members will begin in ernest.

    1. Luke,Stage manage inouraya vanhu here or you dont know what stage manage mean.
      Dai zvakaitika parally ye mdc or any political party uchidaro here?

      1. @tich, why are you defending this being stage managed? It’s a possibility and maybe it didn’t go as planned hence the unfortunate injuries. You cannot tell with these Zanu people

        1. Please put back your humane heart take off the political one and have a thought for the injured, dead ones and their families before you spit your rubbish. A countryman remains a countryman. God created all of us out of Love to extend that Love. Shame indeed. May the grace of the Lord visit upon you.

  4. they are not playing with fire, they have already fired

  5. People like Perence Shiri should concentrate on providing us with statistics for winter wheat production & not dabbling in security matters when he is in agriculture, thats why we have the security cluster

    1. Idama iroro Vision

      1. ‘IDama iroro’ kuita sei? Unofunga kuti unganyatsorima pasina runyararo, wena Kwaaa naVision wako iyeye? Hondo hamuiziwe imwi wapfanha!

        1. @Tinowaziwa, so you know hondo, how did the explosion happen under your noses? I have no time for the likes of Shiri, he is just there for himself. When did he start caring for people?

    2. Nothing could be further from the truth hahahah

  6. apart from being extremely evil to defenseless citizens and going about with wide open eyes, can anybody tell me the benefits of the CIO? as chamisa put it, economic intelligence – zero (as is evident); crime prevention and promotion of a lawful society – zero; scientific and technological intelligence – zero. Someone threw a grenade in broad daylight and none of them were positioned in the crowd to see it.

    1. george shambare

      Shiri is telling the stark truth. Zimbabwe will burn through such acts of terrorism. There will be no Zimbabwe to talk about. Tempering with security of the state is playing with fire hama dzangu.

      1. Muturikwa we Gweru

        Vaudzeyi kuti zvema bhambo nepfuti zvinopedza isu veruzhinji and we as Zimbabweans should be people who should read about this happening in other countries not in our peaceful Zimbabwe.

  7. george shambare

    Shiri is telling the stark truth. Zimbabwe will burn through such acts of terrorism. There will be no Zimbabwe to talk about. Tempering with security of the state is playing with fire hama dzangu.

    1. hahaha-kkkkk-hahaha!!!

  8. If police had sincerely investigated the Daily News bombing in 2002 (instead of posturing), chances are we would have a quick answer to this dastardly act. Maybe it’s the same people?

  9. viruss vigoroso

    EMMERSON Mnangagwa has always preached peace, peace and more peace going into this election. he has responded to all attempts on his life with love. if only all world leaders were like that

    1. You’re unbearably naive

  10. this shall not be taken lightly, the government and private security forces must engage in ensuring a non violent political season ahead of the 30 july election…. ED is For Peace and so is Zimbabwe as a whole

  11. I we shiri ziva zvokurima ED is the man of the moment he knows his duties and all that u concentrate on urs too wat do u know abt presidential security..

    1. shiri is one the ministers who are doing well in the agricultural sector, one of the ministers performing, one of the ministers shunning corruption. ED tinofamba naye through and through

  12. isheanesu marima

    we condemn all sorts of terrorism as Zimbabwe. it is not in our culture, it is not part of us. partisan politics aside, we do not believe in the peaceful resolution of dispute. Mnangagwa has uttered several times that the best response to hate is love. as Zimbabwe we will stick to that.

  13. We pray and hope that whoever is doing this will stop it …because it’s not fair people should give the President a chance …elections are still going on so why trying to eliminate him?

  14. Mashoko A Nehoreka

    All peace loving Zimbabweans must condemn this barbaric act. We also wonder if this was not a stage managed act to detract attention or attract political sympathy. You never know with politics. Its a dirty game.

  15. Zimbabwe is a peace loving nation. hatidi hondo. we pray for all the victims and their families.

  16. Chisingapere blade

    Yeah that was barbaric sure, I pray the pple will be caught….

  17. Whilst the CIO’s operations has been questionable all these years, no country on this planet can survive this 21st century without it. They all have them around the world you name it Britain, American Russia Isreal etc. They have different names. Unless you live in cocoland.

  18. When ED sneezes the whole of Zimbabwe catches a cold

  19. Indeed these acts of terror can not be condoned its repulsive and offending that one resorts to violence for them to be heard

  20. Don’t play with fire indeed.this threat itself cannot stop ZANU PF from moving forwad zvakadaro tichangohwina.

  21. We need to be united peaceful and progressive…… Stop focusing on violence and focus on ED a man of the pipo hu wants economic development

  22. We pray for peace in the land and that those affected by this terror

  23. (Chido) Mdc T Alliance

    ndakarwadziwa kuona zvakaitika izvi….dai Mwari vatibatsira maZimbabweans…President vedu vachatonga ndiri muchinja akakwana asi E.D ndakuvada hangu murume akasimba iyeye he is fit to be the President

    1. kekekekeke ndopika namai vangu chihera wekwa Charumbira hausi muchinja iwe.hakuna muchinja angada ngwena chero zuva rikabuda rikanyura ipapo ipapo.ngwena anorambwa chero nemazanu ake

  24. This why we need change. We are all meant to be equal before the law. Whether you were an MDC supporter murdered in 2002 or 2008, or the owners of an independent newspaper bombed in 2001, or a political activist abducted in broad daylight in Glenview in 2015, or a rural villager murdered in the mid-80s during Gukurahundi….or a ZANU PF supporter injured at a rally in June, 2018, the law enforcement branches of government, indeed government itself is supposed to show you the same concern and dedication to seeking, catching and convicting the criminals responsible.

  25. Such terrorism is not only a local crime but also a threat to international peace and security. This is playing with fire.

  26. Hondo Zvenyika

    Wakatamba nemoto unotsva

  27. Hondo Zvenyika

    ZANU PF for peace. No to violence

  28. Thank you Mr Shiri but please may you concentrate in command agriculture and make sure food is available for the citizens and we can export some for foreign currency. To be frank to you unozviziva kuti when ever the president is going for rallies security is deployed 2weeks before and they will be moving around to make sure that the president is protected. If your colleague Chiwenga is not amongst those terrorists then I am not a Zimbabwean, I don’t have to say much but mark my words for reference sake. Are you saying our security is that weak. Never Never Never. Murimo mukuvhiiwa kwekatiyo aka.

  29. Nyamba kufa munototyawo, ndiroka Gukurahundi nhai Mr Shiri. Dont be fooled citizens of Zimbabwe these guys Ngwena and Chiwenga are power hungry and are enermies. This is a fact take it or leave it.

  30. Are these not the same guys who came to power using tanks & all sorts of machine guns in the streets to illegally remove Mugabe? Now they want to cry foul when a small little grenade in comparison is thrown at them also

    1. not even a grenade according to evidence on the ground but just a small explosive device.i bet some fire crackers are even more dangerous than that

      1. You got it wrong, how car fire crackers inflict injuries to 49 people and one is reported dead. That is absolute childish thinking demonstrating high level of immaturity and lack of wisdom. If you have nothing to do never expose yourself with such contributions.

  31. “Up to 20 000 civilians…”

    This lie will never solve anything

  32. While everyone condemn violent acts of this nature it is unfortunate that the country leadership and some citizens have been proud of it.Of recent a young lady who gave a narative poem at the rally in Bulawayo heaped praise on ED for a 1965 train bombing forgeting there were civilians in that train.What do people understand when it becomes a heroic act to be mentioned time after time?Since 1980 opposition supporters have been beaten or killed toward every election time and a fake National Peace and Reconciliation Board established were the perpetrator have been set to hear from the victims. It’s the leadership that has failed us and it’s just a case of testing own medicine.

  33. Nkotheni Phakathi

    no comment.

    1. Vakamuramba panguva yokupedzisira

  34. Comment…chirikunetsa ndechekuti vamwe muzanu pf havabvume kuti mugabe haachadzoke pachigaro,gore rakahwina tsvangirai vanhu ivava vakadimbura vanhu maoko,ana jestina mukoko vakapambwa vakagara musango bob akapinda pachigaro.nhasi uno ed ave pachigaro vakuda kupedza vanhu kuti mugabe adzoke futi.Nyika ngaione zvekuita nevanhu ava zanu inovaziva.

  35. There are events which have happened in my lifetime which I never expected to happen:-
    That black people would ever one day govern – Ghana surprised me in 1957.
    That USA President would be as*as*inated – John Kennedy in 1963.
    That the Beatles would break up – 1970.
    That a black person would ever govern in Southern Rhodesia – Muzorewa was PM in 1979 and Ian Smith left office.
    That Ian Smith would ever be mobbed and cheered by black crowds – I saw it with my own eyes at Fife Avenue Shopping Centre in the year 2000.
    That a black person would ever govern in South Africa – Nelson Mandela in 1994.
    That a non-white would ever be President of USA – Barack Obama in 2009.
    That a military coup could ever take place in dozy Zimbabwe – November 2017.
    That Robert Mugabe would ever leave office – November 2017.
    That someone would try and as*as*inate a Zimbabwean President – June 2018.

    I now believe anything is possible in this world.

    1. This annoying ageing cretin who calls himself Musona is spewing his usual cow dung stuff instead of spending more time with his magogo, 39 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren!!

  36. Makudo nevana vavo ngavakazhane

  37. Comment…pazvinonzi zanu ndeyeropa munoti zvorevei. Chavakwenyuwo vadikani. now zrp is putting up rewards for d perpetrators of violence? where were u with yo rewards wen pipo were disappearing lyk dew in 2008?

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