Following the deaths of at least 6 civilians, after the army was deployed to quell a protest by opposition supporters, it is reported that the soldiers had not been any orders to shoot to kill. The weekly publication, the Zimbabwe Independent reports that the order to deploy was given by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who also doubles as the Minister of Defence and War Veteran Affairs. Writes the Independent
Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga then escalated the matter to Home Affairs minister (Obert Mpofu), who quickly contacted Chiwenga in his capacity as vice-president responsible for defence, effectively Defence minister.
Instead of first seeking a presidential order, sources said, Chiwenga immediately asked presidential guard commander Brigadier General Anslem Sanyatwe to deploy his troops. It is understood that Sanyatwe responded to Chiwenga’s order, but without instructing the soldiers to shoot to kill. When the presidential guard arrived into the Harare CBD, they discovered that the situation had further deteriorated and they then asked for backup from the mechanised brigade commanded by Brigadier-General Steven Gwekwerere.
Chiwenga, sources say, then relayed a command to Gwekwerere ‘to deploy soldiers from the unit with the instruction to quash the protests by all means necessary. The shootings, sources say, were carried out by soldiers from the mechanised brigade…
More: The Zimbabwe Independent