By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
Harare, February 19, 2016 – OUSTED war veterans national chairperson Chris Mutsvangwa has likened Thursday’s attack on hundreds of former fighters in Harare to the 2012 Marikana massacres on mine workers by South African police.
Anti-riot police fired tear smoke and used water cannon trucks to disperse hordes of war veterans who had gathered at the city sports centre to be addressed by Mutsvangwa’s embattled war veterans leadership.
Several were injured in the process, sparking uproar among sections sympathetic to former liberators while some ordinary Zimbabweans hailed the police action on a group of people long accused of terrorising ordinary citizens.
Addressing the media briefing few hours after the incident, Mutsvangwa, who is also war veterans minister, bemoaned the police heavy handedness on veterans he said had congregated to be briefed on developments following the weekend ouster of their leadership.
“The meeting was not illegal as it was an extra-ordinary meeting and to unleash violence on people who were unarmed is equivalent to the Marikana massacre,” he added.
He was referring to the 2012 incident in South African police gunned down 34 striking mine workers.
Mutsvangwa said his war veterans faction was approaching the courts to seek protection from the law.
The former Zimbabwe ambassador to China blamed Thursday’s attack on former liberators on fellow cabinet minister and Zanu PF rival Jonathan Moyo, whom he claimed had usurped the powers of the country’s security ministers.
“I went to see Sydney Sekeremayi (Defence Minister) and told him to check with (Ignatius, Home Affairs Minister) Chombo on who had deployed the police but the latter also professed ignorance,” said Mutsvangwa.
He said it was clear police were following orders from the Higher and Tertiary Education Minister he said had anticipated the incident through continuous posts on his twitter account.
“Yesterday, writing on his twitter account, Professor Jonathan Moyo said ‘we hear the war veterans are planning a demonstration, handei tione (l dare you) and this has come to pass.”
Mutsvangwa added, “He was anticipating this violence. We assume police chiefs in Mat North and the one in Harare probably listened to Jonathan Moyo and were getting orders from Jonathan.
He has become the de-facto member of the Executive of this country. From nowhere he has become the Executive. Jonathan does not need to be elected, but he anoints himself, then he gets the occult of Mandi (Chimene, new war veterans chairperson) to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe accept him.
“…I assume that when he was boasting he knew the deployment of the police, he knew the result of today. He must have contrived, wished it and propelled it.
“So we now have a situation where Jonathan has become de-facto the Executive. We call upon the president as fellow revolutionaries, as loyal people, to take back his powers from this mystical man.”