Killer soldiers ‘were driven by cruelty’

The picture of a soldier in kneeling position while shooting at fleeing civilians, while a colleague rushes to stop him during MDC Alliance protests that turned violent in the capital on August 1

SOLDIERS allegedly shot and killed Silvia Maphosa (56) in cold blood at close range on August 1 during post elections violence that rocked Harare, the commission of inquiry into the violence led by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe heard yesterday.


Maphosa’s sister, Miriam Chidamba, who is a registered nurse, told the commission on the second day of the public hearings that Maphosa was shot and killed by cruel soldiers on her way from work at the Zimbabwe National Water Authority.

“She was shot in the heart and the bullet came out in the back. From information we have, she even tried to plead with the soldier to let her go, but he still fired and killed her. It was just purely out of cruelty, she was just shot by a cruel person,” she said.

Chidamba said after her sister was shot dead, there was an attempt by doctors at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals to cover up by producing a death certificate which listed the cause of death as stab wounds.

“The doctor was not acting professionally. He was getting instructions from higher offices and when the family challenged the entry on the death certificate, with the help of Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, the doctor then changed the death certificate and entered that she had been killed owing to a gunshot wound,” she said.

Another witness, Adrian Munjere, a vendor who operates at the former Ximex Mall, told of his near-death experience after he was shot on the right hand by an AK-47 assault rifle.

Munjere said he saw up to seven soldiers advancing and firing towards fleeing members of the public and political activists.

“I heard the sound of gun fire and I did not think anything of it. But then later, I felt a warm sensation on my arm, that’s when I saw blood and I realised that I had been shot,” he told the commission.

Munjere ran for life towards Julius Nyerere flyover, but gave up as he was losing a lot blood and ended up getting help at Harare Central Police Station.

Zanu PF members again dominated the witness list, with two party workers leading evidence, telling the commission that the police appeared to connive with MDC Alliance supporters.

Johannes Mutanda, a driver at Zanu PF, said while the MDC Alliance supporters were attacking the Harare provincial party office, police officers came and just watched.

“In my view, if the police had acted against those who were attacking our offices, property would not have been lost, especially the cars that were burnt,” Mutanda alleged.

“They did not act and at that time, when the MDC Alliance supporters then realised that the police were not acting on them, they jumped onto the police vehicle chanting slogans and claiming the police were part of them.”

An emotional Stella Matsengarwodzi alleged youths who attacked the Zanu PF office were brought by MDC Alliance vice-chair Tendai Biti and former Zanu PF activist Jim Kunaka.

She alleged that soon after Biti addressed the youths near the Engen garage along Simon Vengai Muzenda Avenue, they crossed over and began to attack the party offices.

Matsengarwodzi said the MDC Alliance youths were chanting slogans similar to those of Zanu PF.

“They charged to us chanting slogans saying ‘Pasi naMnangagwa, Pamberi naChamisa’, as they attacked us. My glasses were hit by a stone and glass fragments got into my eyes. It was a horrific time,” she said.

A vendor, who operates near Morgan Tsvangirai House, Precious Mabhenga, said four soldiers attacked her with sjamboks as they indiscriminately beat up and shot at people in the central business district, resulting in at least seven deaths.

The hearings continue today.


  1. Anyone using party arguments is probably biased. Bullets were not coded to guide them on who to kill. People in the street were not marked with paint. Soldiers were plain cruel and probably thought everyone in the street is an MDC Alliance member – deadly mistake. The real true testimony speaks for itself, it has no MDC or Zanu PF label to it. The Zinwa testimony and the MT House testimony resonate with what is already in the public domain.

  2. Its unfortunate that lives were lost but the soldiers acted reasonably and professional in order to avoid the deterioration of a tense situation into anarchy which would have led to the loss of many Innocent lives especially that we hear there we political activists involved in the coordinating of anarchists.Imagine if our soldiers were as unprofessional as the Israeli ones who shot around 200 Palestinians at that border just recently

    • @tendai
      First of all, the soldiers dont handle riots in a normal situation, riots are handled by Anti-riot police.
      Second, professional conduct requires use of NON-LETHAL means such as tear-gas, pressurized water and in very extreme cases, rubber bullets or just gun powder.
      Thirdly, your comparison with Israeli forces is way way out of context and borders on mischief which is insulting given that innocent lives were lost and others injured. The Israeli forces PROTECTS THE BORDER OF Israel from any threats! So any foreign entities deemed to be threatening the security of that countries are met with maximum force. Moreso, the activity of Hamas and their role in the protests, who are known terrorists to both the Palestinian gvt and Israeli gvt, has no equivalence in the Zim
      Chenjera kurera imbwa nemukaka, Zanu isonjonjo iyi. mangwana ndiwewo, mark my words. Noone is labelled Zanu or MDC when walking the streets. Zvichakuwanawo

    • No soldiers should not have attacked indiscriminately.It is a city, They should have tried to target the violent MDC thugs only

  3. Whats the criteria that is being used by the Mothlante Commission in picking up the witnesses? A Mnangagwa Protege

  4. The serious empediment in this inquiry is that the side of the protesters has no representative. Nobody is owning up to the organisation of the demonstrations and their purpose. Such a situation presented a high risk of the whole thing being interpreted as a coup attempt and coups are usualy dangerous and fatal. Remember one had recently taken place in november. The leader of the opposition had also carelessly insinuated that he also had made arrangement with certain members of the millitary to take over authority from Ed so you can just see how risky those kind of protests were. As for the case of Israel and Palestine, Tendai is very correct. Palastinians are under occupation and are butchered day in day out against so many united nations security council resolutions. The Gazans are under a blockade and are not allowed to have any contact with the rest of the world. It is so cruel and so inhuman. They are not allowed to go back to their homeland from where they were displaced!!!

  5. The question is who ordered the soldiers to participate in the matter they did. My understanding is that solders work under instruction unlike the protestors. When they come they carry out their duties according to the instructions given. These soldiers did not emerge from nowhere. Photo of those soldiers were clear. What we want to know is which barrack did they come from and from whose instruction and the commander in charge. These are the right people to question not people with their political views and party affiliation interests.

  6. Comment…On 18 November 2017; I witnessed in Harare CBD civilians kissing and hugging armed soldiers, taking selfies with them and declaring them as liberators who freed them from the tyrannical rule. Fast forward to 1 August 2018, I witnessed in Harare CBD, the same liberators engaged in running battles with the liberated, firing live bullets but no selfies. Six civilians died. Gonzo nachin’ayi vatosvorana. The mdc alliance fell for a sucker punch as they allowed themselves to be used by the lacoste cabal. Pasi nejunta.

  7. the opposition supporters thought that the removal of mugabe is the end of tyranny.junta never changes uri rt ipapo . you are spot on

  8. It was plain cruelty and ultimately the man to blame is the commander in chief cause when things go right he is praised soo should take the fall for this.To true Zimbo i think you are not be objective about the people of Gaza majority of the people are not members of hammers Israel and apartheid South Africa are the same the Israeli Defence Force enjoy killing in cold blood cause it a supremacist entity together with
    Likud party and Benjamin Netanyau who refered to black Africans as worse than cyanide and this stupid chief rabbi who called Africans monkey.So ZDF and IDF are compared that person is right.

  9. This commission of enquiry is to ascertain as to what happened not how the demo took place but on military response to another demo. We ve always had demos in Zim that were sanctioned by police. Who sanctioned the soldiers while silencing the riot cops. Who was their commander, the notorious soldier who took aim and fired rounds is well known, he should be summoned, infact all those soldiers shld be court marshalled in a military barrack.

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