Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa today told the Commission of Inquiry into the 1 August violence that he had not incited supporters to take to the streets in post-election violence that killed six people.
Chamisa lost the July 30 poll to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in the first election after Robert Mugabe was forced to resign following a coup in November 2017.
In the aftermath of the vote, civilians died in an army crackdown on protests.
Chamisa lost a legal challenge to the election results but still maintains the vote was rigged and that Mnangagwa lacks legitimacy.
“For the record, my hands are clean. My conscience is very clear and my resolve is unbreakable. These hands that you see have not spilled blood,” the 40-year-old politician said.
Chamisa said his party had not called for the protests and the demonstrations could have been hijacked by the ruling party to smear his party.
He said he was surprised to be phoned by then Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu informing him about the demonstrations in the central business district.
He said Mpofu phoned him in the presence of Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga who was also Minister of Defence.
Chamisa said he was surprised that Mpofu phoned to tell him that the demonstrators were destroying property because police should have arrested them.
The commission of inquiry, led by former South African President Kgalema Motlante, has heard evidence from security chiefs who denied that soldiers killed civilians and blamed Chamisa and other opposition leaders for inciting violence.
Video from the 1 August protests showed soldiers, some with their faces obscured by camouflage masks, opening fire with automatic weapons.
Chamisa said his party would hold peaceful protests on Thursday against a deteriorating economy, which he said was a result of lack of confidence in Mnangagwa’s government.-Reuters/Own