No soldiers at Chingwizi: Chiwenga

via No soldiers at Chingwizi: Chiwenga 10 August 2014

THE military has not deployed personnel to help quell disturbances by flood victims at Chingwizi camp in south-eastern Zimbabwe, defence forces commander Constantine Chiwenga has said.

He was responding to media reports that the army had embarked on a campaign of terror following skirmishes between the police and flood victims who have resisted government attempts to move them to designated sites.

“We have no personnel at Chingwizi and these reports are nothing but malice aimed at soiling the good name of the country’s soldiers. We have no business resettling civilians because we did our job getting them out of the floods,” Chiwenga told journalists Sunday.

“The civilian authorities should answer the questions around who was responsible for those disturbances.”

The head of the country’s security forces was briefing journalists ahead of Monday’s Defence Forces Day commemorations.

During the clashes last week, several police vans were torched leading to the arrest of at least 29 villagers.

The majority of those arrested were granted bail following the intervention of human rights lobby group, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

Chiredzi Magistrate’s Court was last Tuesday reduced to a virtual hospital ward when the 29 Chingwizi camp dwellers, part of a group bashed by police and soldiers during a raid on the settlement, undressed to exhibit their injuries during the bail hearings.

The villagers were charged with public violence after being rounded up by “soldiers”, a claim Chiwenga is now disputing.
Lawyers representing the villagers accused authorities of using unorthodox means during the raids and subsequent arrests.
ZLHR representative, Dzimbabgwe Chimbgwa, said lawyers were denied access to their clients until just moments before their appearance in court.

“The constitution is very clear in saying that the accused persons must be made aware of the charges that they are facing, they must then be allowed access to their lawyers, they must also be able to access food and medication and all these things were not followed,” Chimbgwa told journalists in Masvingo.

“You cannot assault or use violence in an effort to arrest people unless you say that you were using that violence to bring the people under arrest that is if they were resisting of which that was not the case.”

According to the reports police were assisted by soldiers to bundle the arrested villagers into vehicles following a dawn raid.

About 20,000 villagers are resisting attempts by the government to relocate them to new one hectare plots before they are given $4,000 per family which they were promised when they accepted relocation from the flood-prone Tokwe Mukosi area earlier this year.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 8
  • comment-avatar
    Saidi 7 years ago

    Pane anombobvuma here? Nembwa dzinoziva bhutsu dzemasoja dzakauya

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    Mapingu 7 years ago

    In as much as we may want to sympathize with these victims of ZANU PF abuse the problem is: most of these people behave more like hapless women in an abusive marriage who will jump at any given opportunity to defend their husbands should anyone tries to help them out.

    We have seen that it is in the most abused areas where ZANU PF amass most of its votes in most of the elections. Thus, the most abused people are the same people who want ZANU PF to rule until donkeys grow horns, as some would say. Is that not surprising?

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    Jackson 7 years ago

    Chiwenga you are going to find it hard to convince us that there were no soldiers involved. The citizens of Zimbabwe have no trust in the defence forces. In the last election you participated effectivilely in the rigging of elections in 2013 to keep zanu pf in power.

    The Chigwizi issue has a very high potential of exposing how rotten a political outfit your party, zanu pf is. Actually, Chigwizi has already exposed that and your party feels threatened politically,and whenever your party feels threatened politically, you unleash soldiers onto the people, like what you did in 2008 rerun elections and other elections.

    So you may climb the highest mountain to shout your innocence and non involment,we just dont believe you. You are a highly discredited institution.

    The same goes for a recent statement which Shiri uttered that the defence forces are not involved in politics. What a big big lie that is. You havent renounced your combined statement that “We will never allow this country to be ruled by someone without liberation war credentials” have you? Is that not getting heavily involved in politics?

    So rest assured chiwenga,that we will not believe you. The army is invoved in the Chigwizi issue period

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    Stingray 7 years ago

    We know very well that soldiers are non political even though we often see them shouting zanu pf slogans at Heroes Acre , we also know very well that soldiers were not deployed to makesure that we vote for zanu in the rerun and not forgetting that you will not salute Tsvangirai even if he wins an election (you actually did not recognise him as the pm during the gnu)

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    simbi 7 years ago

    That’s strange because we saw them, maybe Chiwenga is in another country

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    gorongoza 7 years ago

    Liar Chiwenga! vanhu vese vezanu munonyepa plus muri mhondi.

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    They way I see it Chiwenga is either being sneaky or he has lost control of his troops. It is not the first time that Army personnel have encroached the civilian arena and beat up people. In the old days there would have been hell to pay. The Military Police would have come down hard on the offenders. Recently a Soldier was beaten up and his colleges went on a revenge spree beating anyone they came across. The Army took no action. This encourages soldiers to be a law unto themselves. It will backfire on the top brass and they will wish they had more control over their troops.

    Our armed forces are supposed to exist solely to ensure our nation is safe, so that each and every one of us can sleep soundly at night, knowing we have ‘guardians at the gate.’ (A West)

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    That’s very true. There are no soldiers in Chigwizi, just as there is no corruption in ZANU PF, just as there is no rigging in Zimbabwean elections, just as the Zimbabwean economy is rebounding, just like there’s one farm each for each ZANU PF minister, just like we have 34 year old war veterans, just like Mugabe is very popular with the electorate. Oh, I could go on and on about how great our country is, for Zimbabwe is a true prototype of democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of association and the rule of law. Our security forces are very professional. They don’t take bribes, they don’t loot, they don’t abuse those in their custody and yes, they take all accused persons to court within the required 48 hours after arrest. They never fail. That’s why Zimbabwe is the best country to date.