Police, army clash over shootings

MEMBERS of the military, who were deployed into Harare to quell demonstrations against Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s alleged failure to release presidential election results on time, were deployed illegally and violated provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), top police officers said yesterday.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Giving evidence before the public inquiry by a commission led by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe into the August 1 shootings, which left seven people dead, police admitted that 62 soldiers deployed into the city were not under their command.

The soldiers, instead, operated under the direct command of National Reaction Force tactical commander Brigadier-General Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe, who also commands the presidential guard.

Chief Superintendent Albert Ncube told the commission that although he was the one who had requested the reinforcements, he only got to know that his request had been granted when he heard gunshots in Harare’s central business district.

“I did not know that soldiers were in town by the time they were deployed. I only heard gunshots and on asking my officers on the ground, I then learnt that soldiers were on the ground and that they were shooting,” he said.

Ncube said under Posa, any member of the army deployed upon police request was supposed to report to the police commanders first and operate under their orders, but this did not happen in this case and he was unaware of who was commanding the troops.

“I should have known and briefed them of the situation on the ground … maybe they had other reasons for not reporting to me as the regulating authority and they found it prudent to do what they did,” he said.

The Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga also collaborated Ncube’s account, saying they had to cut corners and deploy the military without the knowledge of the regulating authority because there was no time to follow procedure.

“There was no time to meet and discuss … the normal process was not followed because there was no time because they wanted to burn the Zanu PF provincial office and over-run the Rainbow Towers, which I had upgraded to an international centre because it was housing international observers and was the headquarters of Zec. If that had happened, I was going to lose my job,” he said.

Matanga absolved the soldiers from having shot at the protesters, saying, instead, the six people confirmed by autopsy to have died from gunshot wounds consistent with AK-47 assault rifle bullets could have been shot by the military wing of the MDC.

“Our business people in town are armed. The Vanguard, a military wing in the MDC, is also suspected to be armed, so I can’t say the soldiers fired at the protesters. I am leaving the ends open as to who shot the protesters,” Matanga said.

According to medical records presented to the commission, a total of 22 victims were treated of gunshot wounds and discharged, while six died from gunshot wounds, one victim had his pelvis crushed with the butt of a gun, while a 14-year-old girl was run over by fleeing crowds.

Matanga told the commission that it was President Emmerson Mnangagwa who deployed the troops to assist the overwhelmed police officers and said he had a letter of authority to use the military from the President.

Matanga said if soldiers had shot any demonstrators, they would have done so in good faith because the demonstrators were riotous and were threatening to burn down the whole city.

He accused opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa of fanning the violence and said he had not acted to arrest him because he feared this could inflame the situation, but warned they planned to arrest him “soon”.

“He can be arrested any time soon, the evidence is there, the documents are there. Crime does not rot like meat. He will be arrested,” he said.

However, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Philip Valerio Sibanda, said he received the order to deploy soldiers verbally from Vice-President Retired General Constatino Chiwenga and had not seen any orders from Mnangagwa.

“I saw a letter from Commissioner-General of Police to the Minister of Home Affairs (then Obert Mpofu), then a letter from the Minister of Home Affairs to the Minister of Defence (then Chiwenga), then a letter from Minister of Defence to the President requesting assistance from the army. I do not know if the President responded to the letter from the Defence minister. I assume there was verbal communication, I received orders from the Minister of Defence verbally to deploy the military to help the police,” he said.

Sibanda also said the MDC’s youth wing, The Vanguard, could have been behind the shootings because State security intelligence pointed to the fact that they have arms.

“We would have been out of our minds to shoot demonstrators while there were international observers and foreign journalists watching, that did not happen,” he said.

Giving evidence, Sanyatwe said from July 10, he had placed his troops on alert and that they were on standby after having gathered evidence that the MDC planned to make the country ungovernable and seize State House and strategic government buildings, including Munhumutapa, Zec head offices, Rainbow Towers and over-running Zanu PF offices.

Sanyatwe said in the morning on August 1, using the intelligence, he had deployed 10 armed police officers to guard the strategic areas in anticipation of the havoc, which finally ensued.

When the violence started, he said he deployed 62 soldiers and 16 police officers, who managed to restore law and order in under 90 minutes, a feat that 167 police officers had failed to do for the better part of the day.

He said his tactical team did not fire at demonstrators because they all ran away on seeing army trucks rolling in, except at one point when his soldiers were threatened by daring protesters who appeared to be ex-military in the ranks of the MDC.

“We fired warning shots and they dispersed, but at no point did we shoot at protesters because it’s a rule of thumb that you do not fire at unarmed civilians, even though they had turned from demonstrators to rogue elements,” he said.

Sanyatwe dismissed allegations by Ncube that he had violated the law by not submitting to his command, saying police officers had lost the plot, they were hiding in their offices and waiting for his men to save them from the demonstrators.

44 Comments

  1. This story is long winding and misleading otherwise the bottomline is that both Police and Army have categorically denied shooting both the deceased and the many injured demostrators hence the request is simple, any members out there who have evidence of either zdf reaction unit or the police or the opposition vanguard please forward it to authorities and that was the clear message, the whole investigation and the commission may not be able to reach any meaningful conclusion with this startling revelation by the uniformed services.

    1. Am surprised and confuse by the submissions of the security chiefs an more infuriating is the contraictions. Matanga says we had to cut corners because of the limited time for consultations and yet PV says he saw letters from A, B, C. These are concocted submissions, rehearsed and open lies!!!!

  2. The commission is just a smoke screen because it will not go against its leader the one who had appointed its members . this is a waste of resources and witch hunting. Corruption has now reached an alarming levels in the law enforce agents how can professional a soldier/police whose duty is to protect the citizens to utter insult words.

    1. Anonymous you are sounding stupid and idiotic here. The commision has reserved two days to gather evidence from the povo about the shootings. that the povo had to be invited after security personnel briefings is no coincidence. lets go with the V11 forms and show the world that actually the army shot people. Vanguard must be disbandled by what ever means. if it means seperating their necks from their shoulders so lets it be. We have enough information about these guys. they are going to kill a lot of people if they themselves are not stopped.

  3. This is ridiculous and scandalous. For our own defence forces to start saying they did not shoot these unfortunate people is one of the most sad tragedies that can befall Zimbabwe.
    It could mean only one thing. Zimbabwe is be lead by a MAFIA gang

    1. Only the notorious Vanguard can provide answers to the many unanswered questions…. Come forward the vanguards and give evidence and reveal to the whole nation about your purpose and objective..?

  4. in civilized nation in a christian society in a sane people the uniformed forces representatives in this commission would have resigned the moment they are called to testify if the business people if the vanguard were armed why not shoot the soldiers

  5. Final Recommendations
    1. The MDC Alliance was responsible for the violent demonstrations in city centre
    2. Army was properly deployed, however there was no coordination between police and army
    3. 7 people were killed. That is 1 was killed by running crowd. The big question is how many were shot by Vanguard and how many were shot by military
    4. Vanguard vanguard vanguard did it with the aim of tarnishing image of government

    1. Prove your claims not wishful thinking.

  6. It has been noted elsewhere, that the army is not permitted to fire into the ‘air’ or anywhere else, unless in a war situation or if a state of emergency has been declared. These dudes are crazy if they think the people will buy their foolish stories, that they did not shoot at civilians.

  7. Enough of this Evil

    To have a whole army commander blatantly lying before a commission of inquiry, instituted by the state, and in full public glare, that his soldiers did not shoot at fleeing protesters, even when the whole world was watching, is the worst form of corruption a whole nation can be subjected to. We are run by an evil and spineless system rooted in the annals of the kingdom of darkness. What form of a nation are we building with such heartless behaviour being exhibit by leaders we look up to. An army commander emitting such blatant lies to the whole world. God forbid. Enough of this evil!

    1. They do not qualify to be called leaders – listen to how they speak. They are rulers. There is a world of difference between the two. Next they will claim that dissidents killed 20k people in Matabeleland and Midlands during Gukurahundi. Bloody vampires.C called Vanguard and the authorities were quiet all along? Only uneducated vermin can buy this bulldust.

    2. Very true @Enough of this Evil. I can understand that they think they’re above the law here in Zimbabwe. But do they take the international community for fools? The Vanguard shooting its own people on the back!? meaning they were standing on the same side with they army which the people were fleeing. This has to be the most stupid and insulting thing to say. Now after this they go ahead and arrest Chamisa? And somehow the whole world is meant to believe there is a “new dispensation” in Zimbabwe!

  8. But all these happened on camera and every Zimbabwean who is on social media saw this horrible thing and for the generals to deny this truth is questionable. Soldiers were seen shooting at the people. Gentlemen we are exposing ourselves to the whole world for sure. How can highly respected people lie like that. I am not in opposition but ummm this magnitude of lying needs deliverance. If the opposition had guns why shooting the people they have send to demonstrate.

  9. The picture is becoming clearer and clearer as I see it. Remember the commission has a duty to establish more than just one objective. Who shot and killed is just one of the points of refference. Who called for the protests and why is the other point of refference. Sanyatwe says he already had intelligence of the planned violence with its listed objectives exactly three weeks before it took place so from the intelligence, those responsible for organising the violent protests would be known obviously. I believe Sanyatwe should be in a position to give more details on the identity of the plotters with additional evidence and the plotters have to be arrested and taken to court and explain for themselves. As for those individuals who fired the bullets which wounded and killed, evidence is also required and those who had evidence pointing to the culprits should have come up to the commission to present it but that seems to be a major sticking point for now. Commissioner Matanga also seems to have more information.

    1. Surprising all the people you believe seem to be supporting your well known position! Kasi haunyare here?

  10. The worst part of this is that people are using the name of God in swearing. This is bad and so sad. Why being afraid of your fellow human being and not afraid of God who is the supreme ruler. Human beings can destroy the body but God will destroy both the body and the spirit. When using the name of God Almighty, please fear Him.

  11. Very shameful, seriously how is this possible that the junta can lie openly like that in view of the whole world. The world saw who took kneeling position as if in combat and shooting at fleeing defenseless civilians, Mugabe was better, he would try to defend his misdeeds.

  12. Let’s not forget that people were shot in the back while running away and how can the so-called Vanguard shoot someone running away from the back,unless the Vanguard was part of the soldiers… These commanders havanyare chokwadi kunyepa pachena zvakadai. Demonstrators were running away from the trigger happy,heartless soldiers and were shot at from the back yet you hear a whole police commissioner-General lying like that, shame. It is clear from the video that the soldier who was kneeling down was serious (possessed) on the job shooting and taking aim at running away civilians and had to be stopped by a fellow soldier. Lying and hipping blame on the MDC Alliance will not help and wash away the cruel August 1 2018 shooting incident of civilians.

  13. some people should at least fear God even once in life time ,the evidence is clear,its on all social platforms soldiers shooting at a fleeing crowd and for God’s sake hw can u even lie tht the opposition shot their own people it simply doesnt make sense ….do justice and let those people’s souls RIP not just playing with our minds and spending money to build a commission to fool us on something very transparent …..if only i cud say e punishement u pple wil recieve wen God judges u will be in equal futtings with the devil himself
    .

  14. This armed vanguard being spoken about, how many did the Zrp arrest and when will they appear in court?

  15. shunguhadziurayi mangarayi

    The problem we have in this country is mdca and especially some of its very dull supporters who think they know everything. Surely an AK rifle fired directed to the crowd and kill only one person? That is ridiculous. If what I witnessed at Cleveland range when we collaborated with the soldiers on a fun shoot is anything to stand with, it is highly impossible that an AK fired within a 50 meters range can just kill only one person. Something really happened. I think and strongly believe some people not the security forces did this taking advantage of the warning shots in the air. This is was a well planned thing just to make sure the elections are discredited by the International observers. This was really the work of chamisa and his party. I even wonder where the term delaying to release results came from when everything was within the frame work of the law. This country will never ever be free with an opposition like mdca. But time shall come when those blind folded shall open their eyes and start seeing the truth about this animal of destruction called mdc.

    1. THAT WAS THE WORK OF MUGABE G40 AND CHAMISA ALLIANCE

  16. I’m so shocked & disappointed by what I just read. The denials & ridiculous claims that came out of Matanga & Sibanda mouths have made me lose my appetite I don’t think I’ll be able to eat sadza for a whole week or so

    1. because of your links to the Vanguard you can only fast for the wrong reasons……….

  17. Who axactly is representing the demonstrators in this case? What was the purpose of the demonstrations to begin with? Remember we spent the whole day voting on the 30th of july and counting and verification started. The results started comming in on the 31th of july and the anouncement of the results continued through the night and continued into the first of August when the violence broke out. Things were going according to schedule when violence broke out, that’s the point. So why did people embark on this violent protest? Who organised it and to achieve what objective? The answer to these questions is very important or else, Sanyatwe’s narative will make sense as it is the only one available to try and explain the presence of violent demonstrators on the streets. So those siding with the demonstrators can shout whatever obscenities but you need to address these questions fully. Remember the presidential guard has a constitutional mandate to protect the person of president and his authority.

  18. Wasting Scarce Resources to fight their own battles in zanu pf

    Yep!To imagine a full grown man like Matanga, a police commissioner for that matter actually pointing to the MDC youths to have shoot the innocent civilians when there are videos showing an army officer kneeling and taking aim at the fleeing demonstrators.As long as we have zanu pf in power we will never taste justice.If they can deny something that is so crystal clear what of all that they do away from the the prying eyes of the public? What was the point of having a commission of enquiry if Sibanda,Matanga and Chiwenga knew who had ordered the soldiers to shoot the demonstrators?Or Mnangagwa just want to use the commission to nail Chiwenga since he is the one who is said to have deployed the army?He is avoiding confronting him so he is using the commission to do that.Surely can those MDC youths fire gun shots when there is not even an iota of evidence that they have fire arms? People are watching and the world is watching while these great damn continue with their drama.And as for this imbecile called Sanyatwe,God is for all.Your soldeirs saw MDC supporters who appeared like ex military and you fired warning shots?This is laughable even kids from kindergarten havaite mahumbwe akadaro.Zvinotonyadzisa asi kungoti bedzi vanhu ve zanu pf havachina nyadzi,hachina ganda kumeso.They have have become cheap biological beings who are capable of doing the most dreadful things you can ever imagine.

  19. It doesn’t matter if justice is on your side. you have to depict your position as Just.

  20. Very sad developments happening right before the world!

  21. Lie is a natural extension of the junta’s tongue and the father of lies must be elated to have such willing children.

  22. Comment…Really pain kunzwa people in authority lying through their teeth.

  23. I don’t think the MDC vanguard can even afford the catapults that David used to kill Goliath in the bible, let alone guns!!??Insane

  24. JusticeIsADreaminZimbabwe

    With The number of cameras that where there that day the Police can’t even produce a single image of these Vanguard using AK47’s, they are relying on word of mouth as their evidence, This whole thing is a sham if the police produces evidence that the vangaurd shot the protesters then we can talk. It should be easy for them to get footage from the hundreds of CCTV cameras in Harare. unless of-course it doesn’t exist.

  25. General Sibanda must respect the people of Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe are not fools. He has just proved that he is a mafia boss. Kuramba zvinhu zvinema videos. The biggest problem we have as a country is our so called national army, it is just not professional.

    1. The majority of Zimbabweans respected and believed that General Sibanda was a “PROFESSIONAL SOLDIER” based on the fact that he once commanded a United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Angola. All this respect for him has totally vanished following his appearance in full view of cameras and tv, unashamedly lying to the ED’s Commissioners. He has become a Zanu PF apologist for a full bag of silver obviously.

  26. Ummmm at this point one needs to be cautious and wait a bit and start thinking in other terms.

    This is now scary. If they are lying it is to their disadvantage but there could be another angle to this whole issue. I don’t believe Ed will invite the whole world to lie in front of them, they should have something up their sleeves.

    Those with patience lets wait and see chokwadi chapadhuze kubida. kana army general vachinyeba tichangozviona, kana paine vakanga wakarongawo ka coup kawo soon they will be exposed.

    If the govt can prove beyond doubt that had a hand in these killings then Chamisa & Biti are done for good.
    To those who lost their lives on the 1st of August may your souls rest in peace and to those who lost their relatives mwari ave nemi.

    To those who caused, shot, etc on this fateful day may God punish you.

  27. Spent many years of life respecting men like Valerio Sibanda not knowing that he has banana brains inside his head, how disappointing

  28. ON THE PICTURE ABOVE I SEE A SOLDIER AIMING TO SHOOT WHILE THE FELLOW SOLDIER WAS COMMANDING LIKE”””FIREEEEEEE””””””

  29. Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga also collaborated – the correct word is corroborated!

  30. 1. EVERY Person has a right to self defence
    2. NO PERSON is obliged to give self incriminating evidence
    3. NO ARMY PERSONNEL had any intention to shoot anyone or engage in violence
    4. TO THE CONTRARY, MDC Alliance had planned it and engaged in it
    5. For Nelson Chamisa to expect anyone to be convicted while he plays victim is fool hard
    6. Chamisa made a political blunder or milestone by implementing JECHA MUSADZA
    7. Ndaadye sadza rake rakaisa jecha kana mabhodoro
    8. Any person being used by these loser who fail to submit evidence of electoral rigging and have to higher a foreigner who was not an election observer to witness the rigging is fool hard.

    9. Thanks to Tsvangirai, he got large numbers, but come 2023 he will not even make it on the Primary Elections. Foolish Kid

  31. 1. We saw soldiers killing civilians who were fleeing.
    2. The victims were shot at their backs and died.
    3. The bullets that were retrieved from the dead have been identified and traced to the murderers.
    4. For any idiot to suggest that the kneeling soldier did not kill is really scary.
    Nyika irikutongwa nemhondi, Mwari pindirayi.

    1. Are you an eye witness or yr saw a video. If you are an eye witness, pliz go and testify what you saw but if you saw a video of a kneeling soldier without seeing the person(s) he shot, then keep quiet coz hapana chawakaona.

  32. WITH SOME OF THE COMMENTS IM SEEING HERE AM BEGINNING TO DOUBT WHAT IS SAID ABOUT US HAVING ONE OF THE HIGHEST LITERACY RATES IN AFRICA.ZANU PF FRIED BRAINS OUT THERE.

  33. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility…

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