HARARE – The ZIMBABWE Defence Force has described as malicious and outrageous recent media reports alleging its soldiers are harassing civilians in the capital, HARARE.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces before changes (Pic. Agencies)

The Director of Public Relations has issued a statement saying the stories aim to tarnish the image of the military and influence ongoing investigations into post-election political violence in the city.

THE HERALD says comments by Colonel OVERSON MUGWISI come after the privately owned DAILY NEWS and NEWS DAY publications put out alarming reports about alleged terror by uniformed forces.

A late SEPTEMBER report in the DAILY NEWS claims what it calls some rogue elements within the security sector are engaging in human rights violations similar to abuses allegedly witnessed during the rule of former dictator ROBERT MUGABE.

The paper says the purported abuses have prompted a group known as VERITAS, which claims to monitor the work of Parliament, to complain against perceived State delays to set up a committee to probe such matters.

A similar report by the NEWS DAY also alleges rogue soldiers have been terrorising civilians in the dormitory city of CHITUNGWIZA, although both papers give no names of sources of their information.

The government has a Commission of Inquiry probing the violent protests that broke out after opposition supporters besieged HARARE Central Business District and started burning and looting both private and public property.

President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA set up the team after SIX people were killed by a member of the military group helping the police to end the violence opened fire on the then retreating demonstrators.

The Commission comprises prominent persons from ZIMBABWE, the SADC Region, the COMMONWEALTH, as well as the BRITISH legal fraternity, who are yet to hand over their report to the Head of State.

Meanwhile, the SADC country is under attack by a deadly cholera outbreak that has seen the government declaring a State of Emergency after the death of FIVE people in a short time in TWO suburbs of HARARE. The figure has since risen to at least 49 deaths.

Cholera has brought immediate misery to thousands of homes (Pic. News24)

The MEDICAL XPRESS online science publication says the State has launched a massive vaccination drive as it battles the cholera outbreak.

It quotes Health Minister OBADIAH MOYO as saying the campaign, with help from the WHO, is targeting more than 500-THOUSAND people between this WEDNESDAY and SUNDAY.

He says another ONE-MILLION will receive vaccines from next week, with reports saying the disease has infected more than NINE-THOUSAND people, mostly in the capital, also amid fears of a repeat of 2008 when cholera killed more than FOUR-THOUSAND persons.

Media commentators say the privately owned media, instead of demonising the government in support of the opposition, should help to fight the serious humanitarian crisis facing the country as well as to revive the economy and assure foreign investors.

They say the current bad relations between the authorities and the opposition-associated papers and broadcasters show ZIMBABWE still experiences serious media polarisation./Sabanews/cam

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