POLICE have launched a manhunt for a group of men after a firearm was discharged in public in a politically motivated incident.
Footage of the incident has gone viral in Zimbabwe. In the video posted on social media‚ five men chant slogans in Shona‚ suggesting that “we have taken the country”. One of them boasts about being behind numerous politically motivated beatings.
Another‚ wearing a President Emmerson Mnangagwa campaign T-shirt‚ then brandishes a pistol and fires it into the air.
Their behaviour‚ coming ahead of upcoming elections‚ has been widely condemned.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said one of the men is already in custody and called on people with information to come forward.
“This type of criminal behaviour is surely going to be dealt with in accordance with the law. The ZRP is already in the process of identifying the criminals with a view to arrest them for abusing drugs and discharging a firearm in a public place‚” said the police in a statement.
“The ZRP would like to advise members of the public that one of the criminals on the video has been arrested. Police will not rest until all the criminals shown in the video clip are accounted for.”
Zimbabwe will hold general elections on July 30‚ eight months after former president Robert Mugabe was ousted in a transition assisted by the military.
While there are concerns that the military may step in if the election result goes against the command element’s wishes‚ opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa from the MDC Alliance assured party supporters that the rank and file in the country’s uniformed forces were on his side.
“Fear not. Soldiers are on our side. This is our army‚” said Chamisa at a rally in Sakubva Stadium in Mutare on Saturday.
He warned that foul play would not go unchallenged. “Any funny tricks to rig the election will be met with serious resistance. We are going to resist any attempt to rig the polls‚” he said.
So far the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has accredited 1,140 observers: 187 foreign observers‚ 34 international journalists‚ 279 local journalists and 640 local observers.
Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan is expected to fly into Zimbabwe with “The Elders” – a group of independent international leaders working together to promote peace and human rights – to meet political parties in Zimbabwe from July 19 to 21.