A Zimbabwean man claims that the ruling Zanu PF party gave party supporters army uniforms during recent public protests over the high cost of living sparked by fuel price increases of 150 percent announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
According to the privately-owned Standard newspaper, Shepherd Magorimbo, who was arrested in Harare while dressed in an army camouflage after allegedly robbing some people in Harare, is facing charges of armed robbery.
The newspaper reports that the Zanu PF Youth League member told prosecutors that “we were given the uniforms at the party office.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo was not available for comment.
State security agents claimed recently that some protesters stole arms and uniforms at army barracks, which they allegedly used to gun down at least 12 people in some parts of Zimbabwe.
But the opposition dismissed the remarks as misleading and designed to protect the army.
The Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa says latest reports pinning the army to some atrocities committed by state security agents, some of the in army uniforms, indicates that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces are now an extension of the ruling party.
“There has always been a conflation between Zanu PF and the state agencies. And this is something that we have been crying about as opposition and also as citizens of this country that we need to separate the state from the party that is called Zanu PF. But what we have been witnessing for a long time is that you can’t separate Zanu PF from the army, which makes the military not so professional at all.
“It is true that what we have been witnessing in the last four weeks was not only being perpetrated by the army but by Zanu PF youth too. At times Zanu PF youth were actually commanding the people that were causing all the confusion in the country.”
However, Believe Gaule of the ruling Zanu PF party’s powerful Central Committee, said his party had nothing to do with the distribution of army uniforms.
“Zanu PF is not part of that rubbish. I think those (claiming to have received uniforms from the ruling party) are being used by the opposition. They have a hidden agenda. Zanu PF does not distribute army uniforms. We did not do that and we won’t do that at any time.”