Roy Bennett sponsored military training for MDC youths – Chaibva


Harare – Flip-flopping ZANU PF activist Gabriel Chaibva, who is also the Executive Director of Free and Fair Foundation has made  startling revelations of MDC Alliance’s violent history which he says dates back to 2002.

By Tinomutenda Midzi/Fungayi Chimbindi

He further revealed that  the party’s youths received military training sponsored by the late former treasurer Roy Bennett who died recently.

Chaibva, a former MDC member, on Tuesday told the commission of inquiry of the August 1 shootings that the MDC Alliance is to blame for the August 1st post- election violence.

He said the opposition party has been marshalling for violence from as far back as 2002.

In his testimony before the Mothlante led commission, Chaibva said MDC youths received military training sponsored by the  late Bennet .

He was providing military training to the party’s  “vanguard.”, he claimed.

“Subsequently, in the newspapers it was awash with white commercial farmers were making available their pieces of land on the farms training the MDC youths.

“This training programme was led by Roy Bennett,” he said.

Chaibva said youths were being recruited into “democratic resistance commitees” with the ultimate goal of overthrowing the then government of former President Robert Mugabe.

He said despite various acts of violence especially those carried out during what he called “the final push” of 2004, the party still received “unflinching” support from Britain, Europe and the United States.

He said the MDC was trying to instigate “some sort of Arab Spring” contrary to their statements purporting peace and democracy.

“Whilst the MDC talks about peace they do the exact opposite,” Chaibva said.

Chaibva claimed the MDC was pushing a foreign agenda which was exemplified by David Coltart, who despite the violence within the MDC was “a fanatical supporter” of opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and had “crafted” The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA).

Chaibva claims he heard Tendai Biti’s “utterly provocative statements” regarding President Emmerson Mnangagwa on July 31st  which fuelled the MDC Alliance youths to react violently on August 1st.

At one point he alleges Biti referred to Mnangagwa as “a murderer.”

Chaibva said during the course of investigations carried out by his foundation, informants had said said some MDC youths had a pistol and were taking turns firing it and two demonstrators may have died from ricochet bullets.

He claims an unnamed businessman may have killed two more demonstrators as a result of “reckless discharge” of a firearm, as he feared for his life during the MDC’s demonstration.

Chaibva also claimed he saw soldiers who were firing shots in the air along Jason Moyo Avenue and one soldier kneeling was aiming upward at a 45 degree angle.

He claimed at that angle only an  individual within “two or three metres” could have been shot.

The commission of inquiry is a seven-member probe team which was appointed by Mnangagwa and chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe. The commission’s mandate includes investigating events leading to the death of at least six people on August 1st and providing recommendations to prevent similar incidents.

In an earlier testimony, Detective Chief Inspector, Edmore Runganga who is also head of the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s investigative team into August 1st said a total of 48 shops had been vandalised and 41 arrests were  made thus far.

Runganga who is also head of the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s investigative team into August 1st killings said they had been investigating for the past three months but had not found any firearm cartridges in the Central Business District except those recently acquired through the commission.

He said the report on the direction or angle of “projectiles” had not come back from the technical department.

Runganga said he would follow up on potential eyewitnesses mentioned by Molanthe, such as the late Sylvia Maphosa’s sister.

Maphosa is a victim of the August 1 melee.

The chief inspector  said it was “unfortunate those people do not want to come to the police,” but he would “leave no stone unturned.”