Felex Share Senior Reporter—
The Defence and Security Services yesterday warned the public against seeking the services of members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) to settle personal scores, taking advantage of the ongoing Operation Restore Legacy.Such acts, they said, were a violation of the law.
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The defence and security arms also warned malicious individuals aiming to disturb peace and stability in the country by circulating inflammatory content on social media. In a joint statement, the ZDF and other security services said some imposters masquerading as ZDF members were behind video footage being circulated on social media. “The Defence and Security Services remain indebted for the continued support they are receiving from members of the public towards Operation Restore Legacy,” reads the statement.
“However, they have noted with concern a disturbing trend from a few misguided members of the public who are engaging in counter-productive acts of vengeful retribution against perceived political opponents which behaviour was forbidden by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa) in his inaugural speech.
“Members of the public are warned against seeking the services of the ZDF to settle old personal scores taking advantage of the ongoing Operation Restore Legacy. Such cases are clearly a violation of the law,” the statement says. Operation Restore Legacy was launched by the ZDF last month to weed out corrupt elements that were causing social and political instability in the country. The defence and security services said vengeful retribution was against the spirit of unity in the new political dispensation.
“While we are mindful of citizens’ constitutional rights to express their views through various forms, there are certain individuals and groups who are continuing to organise unsanctioned retribution-related demonstrations,” they said.
“If this is allowed to continue, it will unnecessarily divide the people of Zimbabwe contrary to the spirit of the new political dispensation.” On social media abusers, the defence and security services said: “Some malicious individuals are abusing the social media to generate and circulate inflammatory content that potentially causes unnecessary alarm and despondency within the Defence and Security Services with the ultimate objective of disturbing the prevailing peace and stability in the country.
“In this regard, members of the public are warned against acts of political retribution targeting fellow Zimbabweans. As would be recalled, such conduct is prohibited as per the President’s inaugural speech of 24 November 2017.
“Investigations are ongoing as information has it that some impostors masquerading as ZDF members are creating some of the video footage that has been circulated on the social media.” Maintenance of law and order, the Defence and Security Services said, was a prerogative of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
“In light of the above, we also wish to draw the attention of the public to the circulating false social media messages suggesting that the Defence Forces intend to raid brothels, food vendors and related illegal ventures,” they said.
“While it is clear that all illegal activities remain unacceptable, it should be noted that the responsibility for ensuring law and order remains that of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other local authorities law enforcement organisations. The general public is advised to be wary and expect more of these falsehoods peddled by individuals with malicious intentions.” They said the public should report any “untoward or suspicious” behaviour by any member of the Defence Forces and other security services.
“Meanwhile, members of the Defence and Security Services deployed across the country are under strict instructions to remain vigilant and professional as they discharge their duties during the ongoing operation and beyond.”