Former MMD national secretary Major Richard Kachingwe says Central Province Minister Sydney Mushanga crossed his boundaries by ordering soldiers to beat traders who were resisting to vacate the markets on Thursday last week.
Commenting to the chaos that ensued in Kabwe when marketeers refused to vacate their trading areas and pave way for a cleanup exercise, Major Kachingwe said the minister did not even have powers to issue such instructions to the military.
“Now, when such a thing happens and then you order the military to beat people, that is misuse of state apparatus. And I strongly condemn it because even the military themselves know their bounds. They are only called to action when the situation is critical under the terms of the operation, when things are beyond the police or there is a national emergency. Even the commanders themselves know that it is wrong, they cannot be ordered to beat citizens,” Major Kachingwe said.
“You cannot be called to go and beat people in the streets, if that is true, that is very wrong. The military are not suppose to beat people. These are citizens and are suppose to be protected from attacks.”
He said the government leadership needed to be careful when involving the military in civil operations.
“Normally, they are supposed to use the civil authority to clear the people from the streets and then the military can be given tasks, if it is to clear the garbage, which I don’t even think is part of their mandate unless there is an emergency declared. They are always called upon to do that but not to beat the people. I think that is wrong and they should be careful because the military are suppose to be loved by the citizens,” he said.
And Major Kachingwe said it was not for every Jim and Jack to order soldiers to do things in the on-going cholera prevention exercise.
“I think that the minister was over stepping whereas the citizens also might have overstepped their bounds. But only the police can be told to do that not the military. For the military to be deployed to do anything, its a well defined operation. The commander-in-chief ordered the military to clean up, that is well defined and that is within the commander’s authority. But not to sort out people. It is wrong and it shall remain wrong,” said Kachingwe.
“Even the military themselves know how they receive their orders, its well defined. It’s not spontaneous, because anybody would be giving orders to the military, even the DC would be giving orders to the military. Its not a minister or any Jim and jack who wakes up and says ‘go and do this’ no!”