DEFENCE minister Oppah Muchinguri yesterday claimed no one was killed during Operation Restore Legacy, a code name for the November 2017 de facto coup that forced former President Robert Mugabe to resign after 37 years in power.
By VENERANDA LANGA
She was responding to a question by Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala, who wanted to know the number of people who died during the period and the number of Zimbabweans who escaped the country in fear of the military.
“Operation Restore Legacy took place from November 17 to January 18 and if the MP was referring to people who died of various ailments, then the best answer would be provided by the Registrar-General’s Office that deals with registrations and births,” Muchinguri said.
“But if the MP is referring to victims or casualties of Operation Restore Legacy, which I believe he was, then Mr Speaker, the answer is none as far as we are concerned because no one was killed during that operation.
“The new government never at any time ordered anyone into exile and, instead, those that purport to be in exile and left during the operation did it out of their own volition, and in this regard, government will not give statistics of such persons.”
Muchinguri said immigration laws allowed people to travel in and outside the country, as long as they have valid passports.
“We cannot refer to people that skip the country to evade the law as people that have been exiled, and if anything, that is self-imposed exile,” she said.
“I have alluded to the fact that government has not exiled anyone or threatened anyone.
Those in self-imposed exile know better why they are staying out of the country, but a number of individuals in such situations have returned home and are staying here safely and free.”
Muchinguri cited former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, former Foreign Affairs minister Walter Mzembi and Dickson Mafios as examples.
“However, if those in exile have criminal cases, they should account for those in the courts of law as is happening in most cases,” she said.
MDC Alliance MPs later walked out in solidarity with Sikhala, who was ordered out of the House for calling Bindura North MP Kenneth Musanhi a baboon for heckling him.