IT’S rather bizarre that President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa has chosen to profess ignorance over who ordered soldiers to use live ammunition on civilian protesters in Harare on August 1, killing seven on the spot.
His remarks, as captured in a recent interview with foreign media, create a gloomy picture of where we are going as a country and who is in charge of government business.
Mnangagwa, who is the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander-in-Chief, is quoted as claiming that none of his lieutenants ordered the shootings that claimed seven lives — the majority, we are told, were breadwinners caught up in the crossfire while trying to eke a living through street vending.
Mnangagwa should be reminded that as the country’s first citizen, he is the only person constitutionally mandated to deploy soldiers and therefore the buck stops with him.
Political grandstanding over such a sensitive matter before an international audience is good Mr President, but will not help your quest for legitimacy.
The deceased’s families are looking for closure of the matter from you and the blame-game will not help, but add salt to their wounds. A real leader stands up to anything, whether good or bad, and should be accountable.
If Mnangagwa did not deploy the soldiers, then the people of Zimbabwe and the international community deserve an explanation on who really is calling the shots in Zimbabwe.
The social media was awash with pictures of the soldiers firing live ammunition at civilians and Mnangagwa opts to say he has not seen the pictures. It only shows the President either doesn’t care about what is happening in the country as long as it suits him or is being mean with the truth.
The soldiers are obviously known and action should have been taken by now, but what we see is a President who appears to be isolated from issues and the people he is supposed to shepherd over.
There is no need to engage foreigners to probe the incident because evidence is there for all to see. Why waste money on bringing in foreigners and consultants to come in and tell us what we already know?
The government rushed to arrest multitudes of MDC Alliance supporters, accusing them of causing the death of the seven, but curiously ignored the soldiers who pulled the trigger.
Mnangagwa should respect the people of Zimbabwe and avoid political grandstanding, especially when it involves lives of his people. His claims show that he wants international recognition at the expense of the lives of his own people.
Life is a God-given gift that should be respected. As a President, his duty is to protect Zimbabweans and not preside over dead bodies while misrepresenting to the international community that all is well in the country.
Time will harshly judge those who don’t respect the sanctity of human life.