#2018ZimElections: ‘Army not Ordered to Shoot, Kill’

Harare – Government spokesperson has denied allegations peddled on social media that the army was ordered to shoot at rioters, resulting in the death of three unarmed civilians.

Speaking to the state media, George Charamba said, “I was with the army commander Valerio Sibanda and he said there was no such instruction to shoot,” adding that the army remains professional.

Charamba’s comments come as the army is reportedly telling people to vacate the CBD in anticipation of the announcements of the much-awaited presidential results.
An Army Official Shoots in Harare 

Independent observers have however condemned the brutal force by the army on unarmed civilians.

"Likewise, while law and order are crucial to society, their enforcement must be lawful and reasonable. The use of excessive force, such as sending armed troops firing live bullets at unarmed civilians should never be allowed to happen," observed Alex Magaisa. 

"The army on 1 August 2018 ordered journalists covering riotous demonstrations in Harare over delays in the release of presidential election results to switch off their video recording equipment & cameras," noted the MISA Zimbabwe chapter.

If Charamba's statements are true, this could be regarded as excesses by the army, as a video circulating on social media shows a soldier being restrained from shooting at fleeing civilians.

Meanwhile, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for calm as the country remains under lockdown, with results still to be announced.

“We have been in communication with Nelson Chamisa to discuss how to immediately diffuse the situation – and we must maintain this dialogue in order to protect the peace we hold dear,” Mnangagwa said.

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