By Anna Chibamu
A ZANU PF legislator on Thursday showered praises on President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the state’s tough reaction to the August 1 political violence which saw six civilians gunned down by the army.
Stars Mathe, MP for Nkayi South, was contributing to debate on the presidential speech to parliament this year.
The August 1 violence erupted in central Harare with hordes of MDC Alliance supporters taking to the streets to protest alleged poll fraud by Zanu PF following the July 30 national elections which restored the ruling party’s two thirds majority in parliament.
The army was deployed ostensibly to help quell the skirmishes but consequences were dire as six civilians, among them bystanders, were shot dead.
Mathe congratulated the President for “courageous steps he has taken to try and make peace prevail in the country where some rogue elements were creating animosity”.
“I am also congratulating His Excellency, the President and praising him greatly because he showed that he is a hero; he is somebody who should be emulated,” Mathe said.
“He was courageous enough to take the steps of trying to make peace in the country, taking all the steps to protect the public because there were some elements in our society who wanted to create chaos and the country would have been plunged into darkness.
“If he had not taken the bold steps of cutting off that violence, many people would have lost lives. As I am speaking, because of the steps he took Zimbabwe has peace.”
Mathe did not specify if he praised Mnangagwa for the actual killing of civilians by the army or he meant something else different.
His comments elicited an interjection by Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya who said this went against the Speaker Jacob Mudenda’s earlier calls on MPs not to discuss events of the August 1 disturbances as the matter was still under probe.
Mnangagwa, in past interviews with the media, has distanced himself from the heavy handed reaction which he often describes as “regrettable”.
He has moved to appoint a seven member commission of enquiry to probe the public violence and the army killings.