JOHANNESBURG, January 23 – After calling for national dialogue and promising to investigate the ongoing violence afflicting Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has placed the blame for the current crisis squarely on the shoulders of the opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance.
Secretary for Information Nick Mangwana said in a statement released on behalf of the president that the MDC was to blame for last week’s protests against a steep fuel price hike and for the deaths that resulted from the violence in the crackdown that followed, Pindula News reported on Wednesday.
In the statement, Mnangagwa expressed his gratitude to the majority of Zimbabweans who he said had resisted the MDC Alliance’s “coercion and wanton hooliganism”.
He said his heart went out to those who had lost family members as a result of the violence.
Mnangagwa further claimed there was a false link between the 150 percent fuel price hike and the protests, reiterating last week’s vow by his officials that the MDC Alliance would be held responsible for all losses.
“Our laws clearly hold to account all those responsible for convening demonstrations whose outcome turns out to be violent,” he said.
“Government is thus committed to enforcing the relevant law to the fullest, meaning the MDC Alliance and its allies will be made to fully account for the losses incurred as a result of those demonstrations.”
However, the president’s assertions appear to be on a collision course with the findings of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).
The ZHRC says Zimbabwe police are incapable of dealing with the current violence and are therefore using “brute, excessive and disproportionate force in most circumstances thereby causing avoidable loss of life and also worsening the situation”.
– African News Agency (ANA)