FULL TEXT: President Mnangagwa’s France24 interview from Ethiopia
WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO THESE GRAVE ACCUSATIONS AND HOW IS THE SITUATION NOW IN YOUR COUNTRY?
Mnangagwa: It is true that there were violent, very violent demonstrations, from the time that they began the demonstrations on the 14th I think to the 16th of January. They were so violent that they attacked police stations, burnt police motor vehicles, killed a policeman destruction of property, beating of people.
It was so violent that the police was overwhelmed by such violence by these people it showed that it was well organised countrywide; every single town they were coordinated to attack government institutions, in particular police stations and so on.
And we now realise that it was also organised because prior to that day we now hear that some people went around, NGOs went around saying that allow your children to go tomorrow for demonstrations if they are arrested this is the place where to go we are ready to defend you. If you are injured this is where to go.
SO YOU ARE SAYING THERE WAS A PLAN?
Mnangagwa: Total plan, it has (sic) we have now discovered that this was well planned.
I STILL WANT TO GO TO THE CRACKDOWN ESPECIALLY BY THE MILITARY. WE HAVE SEEN ACCOUNTS, OF WOMEN SAYING THEY WERE RAPED. WE’VE SEEN CLAIMS BY NGOs THAT THERE WERE 17 EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS. YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE VIOLENCE BY THE PROTESTERS, BUT CLEARLY THERE WAS VIOLENCE BY THE MILITARY, AND THERE WAS SERIOUS VIOLENCE.
Mnangagwa: I will deal with the issues you have raised with regards to the rape allegations of rape. We have both through print media and radio and TV appealed to those victims to come forward to the nearest police station. If you are not comfortable report it to report to the nearest police station you go to the nearest church and report the abuse you underwent we have only one single case that has come up in Chitungwiza.
The rest, we now know that the women who were paraded, transitions was just make up by some organisations and some of the women have already left the country shipped to the United Kingdom, the few who are still in the country they are still in the country from house to house we are trying to track them down.
It is all stage managed. We are challenging anybody, anybody local or foreign to produce the women so that the world can see them, and say this is what happened. We would want to see those.
And with regard to the other issue that you have mentioned about the beatings, killings… yoy say a [extra]judicial killings. This is where the army is directly and purposely killing people we would want to see evidence we see all this in social media. But we would want to see evidence where the 17 people were killed. Where were they buried.
THIS JUST INVENTED?
Yes. You have asked the questions allow me to reply. Let us have the relatives will say I lost a son, I lost a daughter, I lost a cousin, I lost a relative, by the hands of the army. I am not saying that the army did not overstep their powers, it is possible individual, individual Army officers.
ARE THEY BEING PURSUED?
Some have been arrested. Some have been arrested in that regard the police have also arrested so many over 1000 people who have been caught in the destruction of properties and beatings, they are going through judicial system in a country and perhaps over 40 of 50% by now have gone through the judicial processes, fool hearing in the courts. Some of them have been convicted some of them have been discharged. I am aware that the highest sentence that has been meted out by the judiciary, …
AGAINST THE MILITARY?
Mnangagwa: No. The sentences meted out not by the military, by the civil Courts.
BUT AGAINST MILITARY PERSONNEL AS WELL…THERE HAVE BEEN SANCTIONS AGAINST THEM?
Those who have been arrested; the military are Court marshalled. Those they get court-martialed. But the rest of those who have been arrested go to civil courts and the highest sentence so far is 7 years. The lowest I am aware of so far is about 3 or 4 months. And others are being discharged because they were found innocent, and according to our loss those were under 18 cannot be detained, once you discover that they’re under age they are released to their parents. This is how we do it and the process is going on well.
CALM IS BACK IN ZIMBABWE OR IS IT PRECARIOUS CALM?
No. Total calm has come back to Zimbabwe. We are now so satisfied that this thing was pre-determined pre-planned well oiled by both local NGOs, who are well funded, by also the opposition the MDC Alliance, whose Theme throughout even during the campaign for our general elections last year said that as long as they do not win this election, in Shona they say they will out “Jecha musadza” meaning that they will put sand into the food, so this is consistent with what they have been saying throughout.
YOU CONSIDER THIS AS A COUP ATTEMPT IN A WAY?
Regime change is the better word it is a regime change agenda, which is not new …which has been a phenomenon visiting Zimbabwe throughout the last 18 years.
I WANT TO GET TO SOMETHING THAT YOU HAD TOLD BEFORE THAT IT WAS NOT ONLY NGOs, NOT ONLY THE MAIN OPPOSITION MDC, BUT ALSO FOREIGN POWERS.
I am not aware of the involvement of foreign powers, if they were.
BUT YOU SAID THIS TO SEVERAL PEOPLE…
To whom? If somebody told you, I have never accused any foreign power. I work fully aware of funds that have come to NGOs, operating in our country. I am also now with security intelligence aware of people who came other people to do workshops and training of our people in the opposition.
WHERE WERE THEY COMING FROM THOSE PEOPLE?
We have already submitted the names, add passport numbers to the respective embassies in Zimbabwe, that will come out at the appropriate time we have submitted the names and the passport numbers.
CAN I VENTURE AND FIND OUT IF IT’S THE US FOR INSTANCE. AM IN WRONG IN SAYING THIS?
I can assure you that I will not build a wall against your imagination I will not build a wall you can imagine the way you want, is a democratic country Zimbabwe, but we have to build evidence. The evidence that we have got we have submitted to the relevant authorities and we need a reply from those relevant authorities.
SO YOU HAVE ASKED WESTERN COUNTRIES WHERE THOSE FUNDS AND PEOPLE WERE COMING FROM?
You are now trying to say that are there, it means that you are aware that the Western countries are involved in regime change.
NO I AM JUST TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOURE SAYING.
Mnangagwa[laugh laugh laugh]
I have not said so I have not said so we are aware that Zimbabwe has been subjected to regime change throughout we are struggling against sanctions imposed by the west up to today. By the EU and the Americans, those sanctions haven’t been removed.
They are still there.
ON THE CONTRARY IF I FOLLOW WHAT THE BRITISH MINISTER SAID IN RECENT DAYS, 2 THINGS:
1. BRITAIN WILL NOT SUPPORT ZIMBABWE REJOINING THE COMMONWEALTH, THAT’S NUMBER ONE.
2. AND TWO, BRITAIN WISHES THE EU TO EXTEND SANCTIINS AGAINST ZIMBABWE. WHAT IS YOUR REACTION?
When Britain made those points did they consult Zimbabwe? When we apply to join the Commonwealth we don’t apply to Britain. We apply to the Commonwealth secretariat, Britain is just a member of the Commonwealth.
AN IMPORTANT MEMBER OBVIOUSLY.
WHAT IS YOUR REACTION ARE YOU…
The Commonwealth have never told us that they are not considering application the view of one member is not the view of the whole Commonwealth, do you understand
Do you understand? The sanctions are already there, they have not been removed. So what other sanctions are you talking about which have been imposed? We are already suffering under these sanctions, ZIDERA and EU sanctions.
ARE YOU ASKING YIUR AFRICAN PEERS HERE IN ADDIS ABBABA, TO PUSH TOWARDS LIFTING SANCTIONS?
We have been doing that for the last 18 years we are not changing, we will continue to appeal to member states of SADC to assist us have these countries that have imposed sanctions on us to realise that it is hurting our people we have not offended anybody. What we are doing is good for our people is good for Zimbabwe.
WHAT ABOUT THE FORMER PRESIDENT, AND HIS WIFE I REMEMBER THAT DURING THE CAMPAIGN, THERE WAS AN ATTACK ON THE CAMPAIGN EVENT, AND YOU HAD HINTED THAT GRACE MUGABE AND HER SUPPORTERS WERE BEHIND AN ATTACK AGAINST YOU DURING THE CAMPAIGN?
No, they did not participate in the campaign, Grace Mugabe and the cabal which had surrounded our former president was the result of the cause of what happened which resulted in the stepping down of our former president Robert Mugabe but we have no problem with him. We are looking after him looking after his family.
SO THEY SHOULDN’T BE PROSECUTED FOR ANYTHING?
No no one is above the law if there is any crime, anybody will be prosecuted accept a sitting President in terms of our law. But anybody else will be prosecuted even the president when I leave office I could be prosecuted if I commit any offence.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH PRESIDENT FOR COMING ON FRANCE24, AND ANSWERING ALL OUR QUESTIONS. –