The official position that police and army deserters were responsible for the violence that erupted in the country last week has been castigated as ridiculous.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba told journalists that deserters were responsible for the mayhem that characterised the past few days as people protested against a fuel price hike. The Minister for State security, Owen Ncube, blamed the MDC and civil society for the orgy of violence.
UK-based Kent University law lecturer Alex Magaisa said that the government’s explanation is absurd. Said Mgaisa:
Their default setting is to blame the MDC and NGOs. Security minister simply followed this tired script. It was implausible, absurd and laughable. So they came up with another theory — our uniforms were stolen, deserters and retired officers kept uniforms. It’s amateurish and worse.
Their theory does not explain how thousands of them ended up with military and police trucks plus guns and ammunition. Did the criminals steal these too? Did retired officers take them home when they left? It’s completely absurd but that’s what makes them a laughing stock.
12 people were allegedly killed during the riots after armed police and army moved into the suburbs to restore order. The security services have however strenuously denied allegations that they were responsible for the deaths.