The opposition Movement for Democratic Change today said there is no outfit called the Vanguard and it is afraid that the police and military might plant guns or military arsenal at its party headquarters or at the houses of some party leaders.
In a statement in response to testimony by senior army officials to the Commission of Inquiry into the 1 August violence that their troops did not shoot any victims during the violence and allegations that this could have been done by the MDC’s Vanguard, MDC secretary for youth Lovemore Chinoputsa said the Vanguard did not exist.
He said the outfit was disbanded soon after the unfortunate incidences in Buhera at the burial of Morgan Tsvangirai..
“We are disturbed that yesterday’s rantings by the police and military leadership before the Commission may be a precursor to a hatchet job to plant guns or military arsenal at Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House or at the houses of some in the MDC leadership,” Chinoputsa said.
“It has happened before and innocent party cadres were arrested and spent months in prison on trumped-up charges of banditry and terrorism only to be discharged by the courts.”
Chinoputsa said: “The MDC categorically states that there is no outfit called Vanguard, an otherwise peaceful and disciplined team of MDC youths, which has since been disbanded on the orders of the national council, the party’s Supreme decision-making body in between Congresses.
“As the MDC Youth assembly we note with serious concern the attempt by the police and the military to arrogate responsibility of the August 1 shootings to a non-existent peaceful outfit which was disbanded soon after the unfortunate incidences in Buhera at the burial of our late iconic Leader Dr Morgan Tsvangirai.
“The Vanguard was a team of youths that went about peaceful drills at party events but was misinterpreted by political detractors as a violent outfit. On the orders of the party leadership, the Vanguard was disbanded. What is missed is that the Vanguard was not a terrorist or military term but rather it is leftist diction that refers to ideologically correct party cadres.
“In any case, the Vanguard was not an armed outfit. Guns are not sold over the counter in this country. Harare is an MDC territory and it defies logic to say the MDC could have shot people in a zone that it controls. This does not make sense.”
Full statement below:
Continued next day