By Nhau Mangirazi.
HARARE-Civil Society Organisation, Tutuma, a think tank advocating for peace, engagement and dialogue, has warned President Emmerson Mnangagwa to be cautious when using examples of the army especially in a country that has had bad experiences with the military accused of blood birth in the past.
This follows Mnangagwa’s address people in Kuwadzana during the National Clean Up Campaign last Friday when he jokingly said “Dai taiziva kuti vanhu veKuwadzana vanoita kuti mvura isanaye taingoti army kombai tirove (If we were aware that it is the people of Kuwadzana are causing rain not to fall we would just deploy the army to beat them).
In a statement the pro democracy organization said it is offended by ED comments. “Tutuma is perturbed and notes with concern President Mnangagwa’s utterances on Friday that the army can be used to beat people if they happen to be behind current rain fall woes,” the organisation said.
The organisation added: “In light of the Matabeleland and part of Midlands atrocities that resulted in the widely reported massacre of around 20 000 civilians, the August 1 2018, post electoral violence that resulted in army firing live bullets killing six people, the January 2019 protest that also resulted in 12 deaths after the army was deployed into the streets and many other episodes which are all unsatisfactorily concluded it is not strategic for statesman for the President to utter such statements.”
Tutuma said such statements have “different meanings and to that end we urge the leadership to be cautious with their utterances in both public and private spaces.”
Tutuma reminded the President that the actual functions of the army as stipulated on Section 211 (3) of the Zimbabwean Constitution include “…respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by this Constitution.”