Former cabinet minister and ZANU PF deputy secretary for finance, Tshinga Dube, has blamed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government for the death of at least six people in Harare, who were gunned down by security forces last August following public protests over delays by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in announcing presidential election results.
Writing in his newly-released book titled ‘Quite Flows The Zambezi’, Dube, who described the shootings as “unfortunate”, said the incident could have been avoided.
“… Then came the incident on 1 August 2019 when the people resorted to demonstrations on the streets. The response, an unfortunate one, to use live bullets with the result that there were casualties. That could have been avoided,” reads part of the book, which focuses on the former ZIPRA combatant’s life during and after the liberation war of the 1960s.
The former Makokoba Member of Parliament chided the Mnangagwa government, which is desperate for reengagement with the international community, for failing to follow international standards of dealing with protesters.
He said, “Surely, similar things do happen in other countries but the way they respond is different from our way which is now costing us in terms of perceptions of our country and whether really there has been a break with the past.
“What, I may ask, is new about the new dispensation? It makes it difficult to convince other countries that indeed we are in a new dispensation that warrants different treatment. We are seeing draconian measures being resorted to once again.”
Dube also criticized the government’s failure to address the concerns of health workers, including junior doctors, who went on strike in September this year demanding salary increases and improved working conditions.
“We have without doubt retrogressed. Some decisions that we took were not in the interests of the country. Firing the striking nurses and threatening doctors are two cases in point.”
There was no immediate reaction from presidential spokesperson George Charamba, Information Secretary Nick Mangwana and Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo as they were not responding to calls on their mobile phones.
Thousands of people staged public protests last year over delayed presidential election results resulting in the Zimbabwe Defence Force opening fire on unarmed civilians.
Most of the people who were gunned down were individuals conducting their own business in Harare. A commission of inquiry led by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe blamed the government for killing the civilians and urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to compensate relatives of the victims of the shootings.
The government has not yet compensated relatives of the victims.
The Electoral Court declared Mnangagwa winner of the 2018 presidential election after opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa cried foul over the results of the poll.