The MDC Alliance has rejected Zanu-PF attempts to link the party to the shooting death of a soldier in Chivhu last week, and claims that Zimbabwe’s main opposition party is training insurgents in Serbia and Moldova.
Zanu-PF acting spokesman Patrick Chinamasa made the claims at a news conference on Friday.
Referring to the Chivhu incident where a soldier was shot dead and two others wounded after two men shot at them apparently unprovoked, Chinamasa said the ruling party had been “taken aback by statements of disparagement and ridicule coming from the MDC Alliance rank and file where they appear to be celebrating the attacks on the security forces, while pouring their hearts out for the assailants.”
“We have taken note,” Chinamasa said, speaking at the Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare.
The two attackers were hunted down and killed in a joint police and military operation.
Chinamasa appeared to link the attack to the MDC Alliance, issuing a warning to the party’s leader Nelson Chamisa and his deputy Tendai Biti that “they should not be like children playing with fire, it would be very dangerous for them.”
“We know what they have been doing. We’re not surprised by the stance they’re taking,” Chinamasa charged.
Biti, writing on Twitter, said Zanu-PF’s attacks “smack of pathological desperation and vacuous idiocy.”
Party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said: “Neither the MDC Alliance president nor VP had anything to do with the Chivhu shooting incident involving soldiers. The attempt by Zanu-PF to blame the MDC Alliance for the incident is desperate, regrettable and unsubstantiated. These lies must stop.”
Chinamasa also claimed they had information that the MDC Alliance has been “sending renegades to Serbia and Moldova who are being trained to prepare Molotov cocktails to come and cause mayhem and violence in our country.”
Offering no evidence for his claims, Chinamasa added: “It’s all very clear that the MDC Alliance as a party worships violence and continues to maintain violent structures which they characterise as vanguard resistance committees.
“As you know, in 2018 they were responsible for the orgy of violence and also for the 14-16 January violence last year when they perpetrated violence in our streets, in our communities targeting security forces and innocent Zanu-PF members.”
He told the MDC to “proceed forthwith to dismantle your violent structures.”
Chinamasa also railed at Serbia and Moldova’s governments, stating: “We also want to call upon those countries Serbia and Moldova who host such violent training. We also want to call upon those countries which we know, which are funding the perpetration of these violent activities, training people like they are a militia, like they are soldiers outside the borders of Zimbabwe and you think the Zanu-PF government will tolerate that. We will not tolerate.
“Like the Chivhu assailants, the security forces will account for them, each and everyone of them. There should be no complaining to anyone when people who have been trained in Moldova and Serbia come on our shores and are accounted for. We should not receive any complaint from anybody including the United States ambassador.”
Mahere said Chinamasa’s claims were defamatory.
“It’s a matter of regret that Chinamasa has resorted to a false, malicious and reckless attack on the MDC Alliance. Instead of addressing the multifaceted socio-economic and governance crisis that plagues Zimbabwe currently, he has fabricated unfounded claims against our movement,” Mahere told ZimLive.
“His unrestrained remarks betray the desperation and incompetence of Zanu-PF which has failed to address the national crisis and has resorted to threats, intimidation and propaganda to mask its incompetence. We demand an urgent retraction of the defamatory allegations against our president, vice president and indeed our party to the effect that we are training youths in Moldova and Serbia. The MDC Alliance is a party committed to non-violence and peaceful resolution of the national crisis.
“Chinamasa’s aggressive and unrestrained remarks and tone are unconstitutional and a threat to our right to challenge the government and hold it to account without the threat of reprisals. Moreover, we reaffirm that without sincere dialogue and a political settlement, the nation will continue to suffer from the harmful effects of the legitimacy deficit that plagues Mr Mnangagwa’s regime flowing from the disputed election of 2018.”