The National Patriotic Front (NPF) has issued a press statement condemning the deployment of the army and the murder of unarmed civilians.
NPF holds Mnangagwa responsible for the deaths of civilians arguing he is the only person who can deploy the army as Commander In Chief.We publish the full statement below:
The National Patriotic Front (NPF) condemns, in the strongest sense. the deployment of the army in the streets of Harare which result. in soldiers firing live ammunition at unarmed civilians, some vendors. others commuters rushing home, after violence erupted in the central business district.
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We note with concern, the consistent illegal deployment of the army against civilians in contravention of sections 213 (1) a. section 213 (b) read with section 214 of the Zimbabwe constitution starting with the ugly events of the November 15 2017 coup. The constitution of Zimbabwe only empowers the President to deploy the army [Section 213 (1) (a)] in accordance with provisions of Section 214 which allows the President to deploy the any to assist in the maintenance of law and order after causing parliament to be informed “promptly and in appropriate detail’ of the reason of their deployment.
We also note. with concern claims by Commissioner General of Police Godwin Matanga, in a television press conference attended by his boss, Minister of Home Affairs, Obert Mpofu. that he deployed the army yesterday to bolster police efforts at maintaining law and order in contravention of the constitutional provisions we have outline above.
We regret to note that Zimbabwe has muted into a fully fledged military dictatorship and the illegal deployment of soldiers on to the streets and the recklesss use of live ammunition on unarmed civilians yesterday in the full glare of the international media accredited to cover our elections has confined what the NPF has always argued that the military takeover of government last year has brought into power, a monster regime that is ‘prepared to shoot in order to stay in power as accurately disclosed by Minister of State for Masvingo Province Josiah Hungwe a close Mnangagwa loyalist.
We hold President Mnangagwa, as commander-in-chief of the defence forces and President of the country, responsible for the deaths of civilians as a result of the barbaric and wanton use of live ammunition on civilians yesterday as he is the only official with the prerogative to deploy the army in line with provisions of the constitution.
If President Mnangagwa as claimed by Commissioner General Matanga, isn’t the one who deploy the army, then whoever deployed the army staged a coup and should be charged with treason and relevant provisions of our domestic laws should be invoked to deal with the culprits.
It is sad and immoral that the army has arrogated itself powers to publicly flog citizens outside any legal order empowering them to and one wonders what kind of a society we have become.
We take this opportunity to convey our heartfelt and deepest condolences, to the families bereaved as a result of the barbaric actions we witness. in the streets of Harare yesterday and we hope justice will be made available to them and compensation given for the loss of their loved ones. We also urge fellow political parties to exercise restraint and urge their supporters to remain calm and make use of available legal channels to address whatever grievances emanating from the administration of the election.
We also urge SADC, the AU, EU and UN to take seriously, our earlier submissions about the November 15 2017 coup whose ramifications are evident in the events witness. yesterday.
It is clear that Zimbabwe is under military rule and until deliberate efforts are made, with the assistance of the bodies mention above, it will be difficult for the country to return to constitutionalism and the use of the military in government will continue for years.
It is our considered submission that a military junta can never preside over processes that can lead to the return to civilian rule hence the need for the creation of a platform supervised by SADC, AU and the UN where stakeholders, including political parties, the church, civil society and representatives of the junta, are forced to map a way forward that can lead the country back to civilian rule.
Elections run by the military junta cannot yield a constitutional government and yesterday events show how futile an electoral solution presided over by the junta could be.
We believe Zimbabweans have to find each other now and the intemational community has a moral duty to help us out of this political crisis.
Spokesperson National Patriotic Front