DEFENCE deputy minister Victor Matemadanda (VM) says security sector reforms are not necessary because it is comprised of people who fought in the war of liberation.
In a wide ranging interview with our senior reporter Blessed Mhlanga (ND) on Defence Forces Day, Matemadanda, who is also secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, claimed the August 1 shootings last year and the killing of at least 17 people during the January fuel price hike
protests were caused by people who wanted to portray President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government as not respecting human rights. Below are the excerpts of the
ND: What is the role of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF)?
VM: Independence is precious; we got it through the loss of lives of the young, old men and women who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of this
country. Once we got that independence, it must now be preserved and protected, a duty undertaken by the ZDF. Territorial integrity and the provision of
security of Zimbabwe has to be proffered by the ZDF. For that reason, they must be honoured because they continue to portray and give a heroship that you have
seen, for example, what they did during the Cyclone Idai ordeal.
ND: What do you say to those who view the ZDF as an enemy when we look, for instance, at the August 1 and January shootings?
VM: That is a very unfortunate situation well-orchestrated by violence perpetrators, who wanted such a situation so that Zimbabwe is portrayed as a country
that does not respect human lives. There are many things that happened on that day.
ND: Does Zimbabwe respect human lives?
VM: Yes, it does. This is why we fought for the emancipation and continuation of the protection of human lives in Zimbabwe.
Unfortunately, there are some who believe that democracy means ultraism, where they can do whatever they want despite it being wrong. These people have to
respect the rights of others. Once they refuse to respect other people’s rights, they will be violating the Constitution. It is just unfortunate that the
occurrence of August 1 took place although no one had wished for it. We had gone through the elections without a single incident of violence.
ND: You have been talking about security sector reforms; is there anything that is happening on that front?
VM: Why do we need to reform something that is still functional and okay? Why do we need to reform a security system that is able to fulfil its mandate?
Remember, this security sector is composed of people who sacrificed their time and lives for the freedom this country is enjoying. There is, therefore, no one
with the moral right to tell those that liberated the country how they should protect it.
ND: Are you not slowly becoming what you fought against under former President Robert Mugabe’s regime.
VM: We never wanted the rights to destroy other people’s properties. We were, in fact, promoting the rule of law and fighting against lawlessness, which were
being perpetrated by the team that surrounded the former President.
ND: One of the liberation heroes has indicated that he does not want to be buried here at the National Heroes Acre, what can you say to that?
VM: You have to ask the hero the reason behind his indication. It is his right to say he wants to be buried wherever; that decision solely depends on the
ND: For someone who has buried so many other heroes here, what do you think his decision implies?
VM: Only that person can answer the question on why he refuses to be buried at a place where he has buried many others.