Top cleric seeks govt disclosure into Mugabe ouster

By Leopold Munhende

TOP Harare cleric, Bishop Ancelimo Magaya (pictured) and his church have demanded government’s full disclosure into events which accompanied the military’s shock takeover of government last November leading to then President Robert Mugabe’s resignation amid reports of deaths on unnamed individuals.

The so-called Operation Restore Legacy was staged in the ostensible attempts to rid government of “criminal elements” who were allegedly taking advantage of Mugabe’s advanced age to engage in corruption.

It emerged however that some unidentified security to some of top government officials who had been targeted died in the process with details of the incidences remaining a closely guarded secret.

Exiled former Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo’s home was sprayed with bullets although there were no reports of death or injury.

Similarly, former Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo and former Zanu PF youth league leaders Kudzanayi Chipanga and Innocent Hamandishe were seized by the military and tortured for crimes related to their close association with the former President.

But while this has largely gone unnoticed because of the euphoria that accompanied Mugabe’s ouster, Bishop Magaya, who is Zimbabwe Divine Destiny (ZDD) executive director, said the apparent cases of rights abuses could be revisited through government coming clean on this.

Speaking at a press briefing in Harare, Bishop Magaya called on the army to produce a detailed report on its operation outlining the results, victims’ names and their whereabouts.

“The nation would have expected a thorough and well tabulated report on the outcome of the operation given that there have been unconfirmed reports of several members of different government security departments who have been held up in army barracks or prisons somewhere,” he said.

Magaya said this was necessary if current President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rule was to earn the trust of citizens who had been subjected to decades of Mugabe’s brutal regime. Mnangagwa has pledged a departure from dictatorial rule.

Magaya, who is also a fierce rights advocate, has however lamented how the new president was still exhibiting dictatorial tendencies synonymous with his predecessor as was witnessed in the recent arrest and torture of a group of Mthwakazi activists who were protesting his involvement in the Gukurahundi massacres that killed an estimated 20 000 civilians in Matebeleland and Midlands in the early 1980s.

“The arrest of Gukurahundi protestors in Bulawayo is clear indication that Zanu PF still struggles to adhere to constitutionalism,” he said.

Ostallos Siziba, a political commentator and member of the firebrand pressure group Tajamuka/Sesijikile, said that the church group was right in demanding a report into a military operation Mugabe’s allies insist targeted Mugabe’s ouster.

“It is important and necessary to the people of Zimbabwe for government and the army to publicise on what happened during the operation as it made it categorically clear that there were criminals that were being targeted.

“In the true spirit of accountability and transparency, the military should begin to do that,” said Siziba.

Speaking on BBC’s HardTalk recently, Moyo, kingpin of the so-christened G40 “cabal” that infuriated the military, said that fellow former cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s home was raided by Special Forces personnel in the dead of night who fired at the home without warning.

The same is reported to have occurred at the home of embattled former minister, Ignatius Chombo.

Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa