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WATCH: General Sibanda nails MDC Alliance?

by Staff reporter
13 Nov 2018 at 10:22hrs | Views
Zimbabwe Defence Force Commander General Phillip Valerio Sibanda believe President Emmerson Mnangagwa authorised the brutal clampdown at the end of which at least six people were dead and dozens others injured.

General Sibanda, a soldier who has avoided the limelight, cultivating a belief among Zimbabweans that he is the good guy had measured responses.

"If there's anyone who saw a soldier shoot a rioter and the rioter dropped there or ran bleeding then they should come forward. In the absence of that, I think there's just too much speculation. Generally in this country, we believe that when something bad happens, especially to human beings, it is the military. That is wrong," Sibanda said, setting an impossible measure of determining his troops' culpability.

He continued: "I have no reason whatsoever to believe that one of the soldiers could have shot and killed those people, I have no reason whatsoever. The orders were very clear and I can't see what could have happened.

"Yes, I know they were pummelled by the rioters with stones and various other missiles but I don't think that was enough justification for them to use weapons on those rioters. Let me just say from where I sit in my office in town, I heard gunfire well before the troops deployed, so I think it would be wrong for people to take it for granted that yes because the soldiers went into town, they are the ones who killed the people. I have no reason of putting this blame on the military."

Sibanda accused MDC leader Nelson Chamisa of inciting violence on the campaign trail, while lauding Zanu PF leaders whom he said preached peace instead.

"Before the elections, I had three or so groups of election observers coming to see me. I'm sorry to say but they seemed to be interested in knowing whether we would accept Chamisa if he won the elections and I said to them we would be guided by the constitution," the ZDF commandeer said.

"We were disappointed that when the MDC-Alliance was talking violence and so on, very few of these groups took the trouble to sit down with him and advise him that what he was doing was wrong. Further, we would have been very foolish as a defence force to give orders to our troops to open fire on civilians with all these people in the country. We still had a lot of observers, we still had a lot of reporters and really we would have been out of our minds to give such an order."

Sibanda said he had four letters showing how the army deployment happened – but he is still unsure if Mnangagwa gave the go-ahead to send troops on the streets.

"I have four letters – one from the Commissioner General of police to the Home Affairs Minister indicating that the situation was getting out of hand; a second letter is from the Minister of Home Affairs to the Minister of Defence indicating the same and there was need for troops or support from the military; there's another letter from the Vice President to the President requesting that authority.

"What I cannot say is whether that letter was responded to because it would not get to me, that correspondence would go from the President to the Vice President and the Vice President would give me instructions to go ahead. Whether there was verbal communication I don't know, but I can imagine that because of what was happening it's probable that there were consultations verbally and the go ahead given by the President to the Minister of Defence who was the Vice President (Constantino Chiwenga) who then gave me the instructions to deploy."

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Source - zimlive