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‘Don’t expect justice from the government,’ Shutdown victims told

Zimbabweans must be realistic and not expect the state to grant justice for victims of the 2019 January Shutdown protests, as the torture they endured is not anything new but a hallmark of the Zanu PF government, Professor Welshman Ncube of the MDC has said.

He noted that past brutalities that went unpunished, were committed by the same officials who are now in power.

In an interview with CITE, Prof Ncube pointed out that the principal architects of the Gukurahundi genocide were still continuing the same modus operandi in disregard of human dignity.

“People who then were either Minister of State Security, commanders of 2 Brigade here in Bulawayo, commanders of the fifth brigade, if you like, can call them Mugabe’s storm troopers during Gukurahundi are today President, Vice President and Minister of Agriculture. They basically enjoyed impunity and immunity from Gukurahundi,” he said.

Prof Ncube remarks come as victims and civic society called on the government to make sure there is justice for shutdown victims by holding state security agents who perpetrated atrocities to account and compensate them.

“Don’t expect an exception for the things they did in January last year, to defend and protect their illegitimate government. To say they would act differently from what they did in respect of Gukurahundi. This is the context really and seriously, no one must expect this regime which is historically of this character to act differently of the things it did itself once again in January last year,” said the MDC VP.

MDC Vice President, Prof Welshman Ncube

Prof Ncube highlighted that even if victims filed police cases, they reported to the very same police who worked with the military, law and order and intelligence to commit the assault they complained about.

“For all you know the policeman receiving the complaint at Bulawayo Central, across the desk is the one who actually did those things. Really you should not expect these guys to investigate themselves and to take action against themselves,” he said.

He cited that the Emmerson Mnangagwa led government caused an investigation of the August 1 shootings in 2018 but ignored ‘every’ detail suggested by the commission led by Kgalema Motlanthe, former South African president.

“Soft as that report was nothing has been done about it. It is therefore unrealistic to expect police would investigate themselves, to act and deal with something they were authorised to do and did deliberately. It would be ill-advised to expect the system to act on their behalf,” Prof Ncube said.

Prof Ncube also warned that such brutality could continue as long as Zanu PF is in power.

“In fact, it is no longer Zanu PF in power, as there was a coup against Zanu PF itself by the military. It is just a strong political party in the service of military and at the end of the day, the question beholds all of us, as to what are we going to do individually, collectively for the restoration of constitutional order and democracy.

“Ultimately we have to decide when and how we will respect the vote of the people or the right of people in Zimbabwe to elect the government of their choice, without rigging and falsification of results that ultimately is at the heart of the issues,” he said.

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