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Chamisa distances self from deadly August 1 demonstrations

by Staff reporter
14 Nov 2018 at 06:22hrs | Views
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has said that he was not aware of the demonstrations which took place on August 1 in Harare which led to the killing of six civilians.

The deaths occurred after the demonstrations became violent and soldiers were called in to restore order.

The MDC boss was responding to @TSupada who had said, "U're now afraid bcoz u are the one who incited pple that day. No way to condemn the soldiers without condemning u."

Responding on Twitter, Chamisa said, "Not afraid of anything http://mate.Winners  don't incite.They give insight.Violence and power at all cost is not my type of politics.Before God and before men, I didn't actually know about the August 1 demonstrators until I received a call alerting me about it!That is a fact!"

Meanwhile, Chamisa and his lieutenants are living in fear of an imminent government crackdown, after army and police chiefs suggested this week that a militant wing in the MDC was responsible for the August 1 killings which left six people dead and dozens others injured.

The MDC Alliance is concerned that the army would soon launch a crackdown to decimate the party after senior army and police officials blamed it for the deadly shootings.

Giving their testimony before the Motlanthe Commission in Harare this week, army and police chiefs accused an MDC wing, the Vanguard, of being responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians soon after the July poll. However, it has been reported that the deaths happened after a crack army unit descended onto the CBD and fired live ammunition indiscriminately at fleeing civilians.

General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, told the Commission that, "The possibility of the Vanguard, a militant group within the MDC Alliance youth league, having weapons and having used these weapons during the disturbances on that day cannot be overruled. There is no hard evidence that the army shot at civilians, but it is also believed that members of the MDC's Vanguard could have been armed."

On the fateful day, a group of protesters besieged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's Results Centre at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in the capital, Harare. They protested peacefully and co-operated with police. It was quite an incredible sight, watching protesters pave way for traffic, taking turns with the police to open and close the gate.

Some 20 minutes later, they left. Some one hour later they returned, with new company. Armed with sticks and stones. This time cars were blocked, police were stoned. A few colleagues and I received a few bricks to the back as we fled.

Police did not retaliate. They considered the violence to be bait. The protesters soon left. Although with promises to return with reinforcements.

My cameras were rolling the entire time. A running video of all the protests can be found on my Facebook TimeLine here.

An hour later, the protesters, now clearly in their thousands returned. They erected burning barricades. They tore down Zanu PF campaign posters, which they burnt. They vandalised traffic lights and launched missiles into the Zanu PF Headquarters, located just outside Rainbow Towers.

Police reacted by launching water cannons. The protesters bricked the muzzle of both trucks, incapacitating them and causing them to flood.

"We will need to get reinforcements. These trucks are no good now", one officer said to me.

At this point the protesters had branched out into three different groups. Launching a cow horn formation. Police tried to move into the centre. To protect the ZEC results centre, Zanu PF HQ and ZEC's Head office.

Source - online