FORMER Defence and War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube said the shooting of civilians in August last year and during the violent protests of last week has dragged the country “many years back” and turned it into a pariah State.
The police said three people were killed, including a police officer, but human rights groups and lawyers said evidence suggested that a dozen people were killed by security forces during last week’s protests over the high costs of fuel and other services.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday promised to investigate violence against civilians and punish any misconduct by security forces which analysts say showed that the country was slipping back into authoritarian rule.
But Dube, a Zanu PF politburo member and a retired army colonel, said the fact that the culprits who used lethal force were known and have not been apprehended and made to account for their actions, shows that the country was sliding back into the ‘dark days’ of 10 years ago when hundreds of mainly opposition MDC party supporters were killed in a violent election run-off.
“A lot of things that have happened were not foreseeable. Some very unfortunate things happened which affected us as well as our economy. Those [killings] put us years back, not months, but many years, because the world was beginning to understand us better. I don’t want to say who did it as the problem that we have in this country is that the truth is very sensitive,” Dube told Southern Eye.
“With the way things have taken shape, it will take too long to get the situation right. Some countries take this [shootings] very seriously. No-one accepts the blame that someone killed these people, but the truth is that someone killed those people unless it’s not true that those 12 people were killed.
Dube said authorities seem reluctant to apprehend those who shot and killed civilians.
“If it’s true that civilians have been killed, then someone did it and it cannot be everybody. I don’t understand why we have such problems in identifying the culprits. Nobody seems to want to identify them, instead they begin to point fingers at each other.”