Alphios Makatore

From Pindula

Alphios Makatore has been the ZNA spokesperson from 2008 till the present (2020).

Personal Details

No information could be found on his age, place of birth, or family.

School / Education

No information could be found on his Junior or High School, or any tertiary education.

Service / Career

2008 - Director of public relations, (Lt. Col.) ZNA. [1]
2008 - Deputy public relations officer, (Major) ZNA. [2]

Events

2008 Elections

In May 2008, before the run off poll to the presidential election, George Chiweshe, head of the ZEC, spoke of possible delays that might not make it possible to hold the run-off which legally should be held within 21 days of the publication of results of the first round, which was done 2 May. The first round of presidential elections held on 29 March showed Morgan Tsvangirai beat Robert Mugabe, but fell short of an overall majority.

There have been reports of violent crackdown on supporters of Tsvangirai. MDC spokesman Nelson Chamissa said the party had reports that another of its supporters had been killed, bringing the overall toll of MDC followers to 21, but was unable to supply details. There has been widespread condemnation of unrest in Zimbabwe. Human rights groups have accused the security forces of complicity in the violence but the army has denied charges that its soldiers were responsible. "The army categorically distances itself and any of its members from such activities," the army's director of public relations Alphios Makotore said in a statement.

As well as his first-round reverse, Mugabe also saw ZANU-PF lose its majority in parliament for the first time in 28 years in the March elections. A regional model in the first decade after independence in 1980, Mugabe has since overseen Zimbabwe's demise into economic disaster with unemployment running at 80 per cent and inflation at over 165,000 per cent. [1]

Between the 2008 presidential election and the subsequent run-off, charges were made that soldiers had violated human rights and murdered opposition supporters. Army deputy public relations officer, Major Alphios Makotore, said the army was concerned by the allegations that soldiers have spearheaded a campaign of violence, torture and murder against opposition supporters to force them to vote for Mugabe in a second round presidential election.

Zimbabwe holds a presidential run-off poll at a yet unknown date after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a March 29 election but failed to garner more than 50 percent of the vote required to takeover the presidency.

Makotore said: "The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) wishes to raise concerns over articles being published in the print and the electronic media on allegations relating to the alleged political violence, assaults, harassment and robberies perpetrated by men in army uniforms . . . the army categorically distances itself and any of its members from such activities."

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change accuses the army of spearheading and directing a campaign of violence and murder by gangs of ruling ZANU PF party youths and war veterans that the opposition says has killed 24 of its members and displaced another 5 000, while 800 homesteads have been burnt down. The MDC has alleged that the army has deployed more than 200 senior soldiers to orchestrate violence in what the opposition party has described as a war being waged by Mugabe against voters in a bid to intimidate them to grant him another five years in office.

Tsvangirai is widely expected to win the run-off poll on the back of a worsening economic crisis that has fed voter anger against Mugabe and is marked by an acute shortage of food and the world's highest inflation of more than 160 000 percent. However analysts warn that a violent onslaught by army-backed ZANU PF against Tsvangirai's supporters could effectively alter the political equation and deliver victory to Mugabe. [2]

Enos Choga

In 2013, a boy, Enos Choga, was allegedly expelled from pre-school at army base school 1 Commando Barracks. His father, Kubvoruno Choga, also MDC-T party’s secretary for Chirumanzu-Zibagwe, was recognised by a soldier, who ientified him as an activist from Mudzi. This led to a summons and interrogation by army official Murakasha. “For more than an hour I was quizzed about my place of birth, my parents, what I do in life. I sensed that something was not right because these are not questions that a member of a school development committee would ask a parent. “I told them the truth. But no sooner had I left the school that I got another call from the same army official telling me to return the next day, with passport-sized photos,” Suspecting that the interrogations would not stop until he revealed his political affiliation, Choga then admitted to the officer that he was a member of the MDC-T. Shortly after that conversation, Choga says a pre-school matron telephoned to say Enos had been expelled and that fees would be refunded.

Army officials however denied that young Enos had been expelled. Murakasha said that he just spoke to Enos’s father, while army spokesman Alphios Makotore claimed the expulsion story is a lie being peddled by mischief makers. [3]

JOC 2013

Details were given of the reported breakdown of Joint Operations Command personnel and areas of operations to ensure a Zanu PF win in the forthcoming elections. Meetings have reportedly been held in KG VI barracks up until June 2013.

Sources said retired Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena, was running the Zanu PF commissariat department with former CIO director internal Sydney Nyanhongo.

Director of public relations Lieutenant-Colonel Alphios Makotore confirmed receiving the Independent’s inquiries on the deployments last week and promised to respond appropriately. “We received your questions and we are still working on them. We are going to respond to them.”

Security service chiefs have openly declared their political loyalty to President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF. [4]

Military Uniform / Camouflage

Interviewed in August 2014, the director of army public relations, Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore said the wearing of any army uniform or decoration for the purposes of any bonafide stage, film or television production or military representation is covered in terms of Section 99 (2) (c) of the Defence Act (Chapter 11:02). “Artistes should have sought authority from army headquarters to do so and apart from provision, the same section also prohibits any member of the public from putting on military regalia”. According to the ZNA, army uniform means, “any article or articles of wearing apparel and includes a badge, button, braid or insignia worn in association with any particular item or items of clothing and a tie.”

Mukudzei Mukombe better known as Jah Prayzah is the ZNA ambassador and in that capacity, it is not surprising when he performs in camouflage. Artiste Sulumani Chimbetu (‘Captain’) is an ex-army man, and picked an army camouflaged jacket to wear performing. Lieutenant Col Makotore said those wearing camouflage without seeking authority from the army were breaking the law. “Section 99 (2) (c) of the Defence Act (Chapter 11:02) provides that any person who without authority wears or uses any decoration supplied to or authorised for use by any member of the defence forces or other military forces or any decoration so nearly resembling such decoration as to be likely to deceive shall be guilty of an offence,”.

In 2013 in South Africa, Mkhozeni Langa wore a Metro Police uniform at an awards ceremony. The musician received wild cheers as he collected his awards, but afterwards, he was charged for violating the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act through impersonating a police officer, possession of a police uniform and wearing that uniform. It is therefore important for local artistes in Zimbabwe and the general public to fully understand the rules governing the wearing of the camouflage or army uniform without permission. They must not forget that ignorance has no defence. [5]

ZBC

Following their dismissal on three months’ notices, a group of about 30 ex-workers tried to storm the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s Pockets Hill head office to regularise their termination contracts in November 2015.

“We were at the reception and people from the human resources department tried to address us, but as they were talking to us the acting chief executive officer Patrick Mavhura walked in and said he was busy and that we should have made an appointment, but all we wanted was to give him our letters.” Another former employee said 10 minutes after Mavhura had left, the head of security and a group of soldiers came and ordered them out before assaulting one of the former workers. “It appeared they knew we were coming and had planned in advance and they told us they owed us 12 days’ salary as they have already given us the three months’ salaries,” the former worker said.

At least one worker was injured after he was allegedly beaten by gun-wielding soldiers and security personnel for reportedly taking pictures at the protected area. He was taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital. According to sources, a report was made at Highlands Police Station. National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba referred all questions to the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). ZNA spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore requested questions in writing, promising to respond next week. Mavhura and ZBC spokesperson, Gladman Bandama were not reachable on their phones yesterday. [6]

2016 ZNA Pay / Unrest

It was reported in 2016 that the ZNA had approached banks to set up facilities at army barracks around the country so that military personnel have access to their salaries in full. The Joint Operation Command is concerned by the worsening economic crisis, liquidity crunch and massive cash shortages. One result is a delay in the payment civil servants’ June salaries. The crisis has also sparked a series of low-key civilian protests, as demonstrated by the large attendance at MDC-T protest marches in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare and large crowds that Joice Mujuru meetings. A failure to cushion the army against cash shortages could lead to a repeat of the 2008 fiasco when scores of hungry and desperate soldiers stormed the Harare business district on a rampage, beating civilians and looting shops. The rioting soldiers had failed to access their salaries from banks at a time most barracks did not have adequate stocks of food.

Protestors have marched into Rainbow Towers Hotel foyer, demanding that Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who has been holed up in its luxurious presidential suite since his appointment in December 2014, vacates immediately. The activists protested he was wasting public funds while government failed to pay its workers, let alone invest in capital projects and social service delivery. Government offered US$100 salary advancement to its workers so that they can continue reporting for work until they are paid. The amount was rejected. Teachers will only get paid on 7 July, while the rest of the civil servants will be paid on 14 July.

Army spokesperson Alphios Makotore confirmed the development, but said there was nothing new about the request. “There are no new negotiations as this facility has always been there since 1990s when some banks actually installed Automated Teller Machines at the barracks, we started during the campaign in the Congo,” Makotore said in a telephone interview. He did not respond to suggestions the army made the request to pacify its members. Sources said the banking sector has turned down the army’s request on the basis that there is no cash. In July 2015 the government acquired 633 vehicles, which included all-terrain troop-carrying trucks, water cannons, buses and equipment, mostly used by military and police worth an estimated US$50 million to contain possible civil unrest. [7]

Head Butt

A March 2018 bar fight has resulted in the death of Onias Moyo (26), who was rushed to Kwekwe District Hospital after he was head-butted by a workmate Bruce Dungeni.

Onias Moyo was of 5 Infantry Battalion in Kwekwe. Bruce Dungeni, is with the Airforce of Zimbabwe. Acting Midlands provincial police spokesperson Ethel Mkwende said she was yet to get the report. Zimbabwe National Army public relations officer Lieutenant-Colonel Alphios Makotore confirmed the incident but declined to comment saying doing so might jeopardise police investigations. “I can only confirm that the culprits have been apprehended and are assisting police with investigations. I cannot comment further than that since doing so would be prejudicial,” he said. [8]

Itai Dzamara

Three years ago, 9 March 2015, Itai Dzamara was getting his haircut at a barbershop in the working class suburb of Glen View, when five armed men seized him, shoved him into an unmarked truck and sped off. He hasn’t been seen since. Patson Dzamara, repeated accusations that the country’s feared military intelligence was responsible for the missing social justice campaigner’s brazen abduction.

Army spokesperson Alphios Makotore has already denied the Zimbabwe military intelligence’s involvement in Dzamara’s disappearance, saying it was a publicity stunt by the family and a figment of his own imaginations. “The army intelligence does not take orders from any political party. Patson’s claims are just meant to seek media attention and mislead members of the public.”

In March 2018, Government had still made no progress accounting for Dzamara, and his family said authorities needed to provide information on his fate or whereabouts. There have been calls for the institutionalisation of an independent commission of inquiry to look into the abduction of Itai and, ultimately, other similar cases of enforced disappearance and to make the findings public. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights successfully filed a habeas corpus application at the High Court ordering senior security officials “to do all things necessary to determine his whereabouts”. High Court Justice David Mangota also directed a team of police detectives to work closely with Dzamara’s legal team to search for him. There has been no evidence of any serious government investigations into the enforced disappearance and authorities have not organised a specific briefing on the status of the case. “Shockingly, to date, absolutely nothing has come out of the so-called investigations and Itai Dzamara is still missing. In other words, as far as the government and the security agencies are concerned, they don’t know what happened to Itai three years after he was abducted. That’s is totally mendacious and unacceptable.” Patson said. [9]

2019 Fuel price

Protests at fuel price hikes in Harare in January 2019 have resulted in allegations of beatings at the hands of soldiers. Rights groups say a dozen people have died in the unrest, though police put the figure at three. Soldiers have been accused of night raids, and beating residents and activists, in the townships. Zimbabwe National Army spokesman Alphios Makotore said those involved were not bona fide soldiers. “The Zimbabwe National Army has noted with concern allegations of misconduct and acts of violence by people purporting to be members of the organisation,” he said. “The actions by these bogus elements have subsequently put the image of the organisation into disrepute,” his statement added, urging residents to report violations to military police.

Soldiers continued to patrol in central Harare. With inflation at its highest since 2008 and a shortage of cash in circulation eroding spending power, the fragile state of the economy is at the heart of the country’s political troubles. [10]

Bindura gold panners

Two soldiers were killed and two hospitalized following an altercation with gold panners in Bindura in April 2019. Alphios Makotore said after the government decriminalised artisanal gold mining three years ago, violence perpetrated by robbers and mining mafia is on the surge. Many miners now carry machetes for self defense. In Kwekwe for example, the general hospital there treats close to 15 people per week who are victims of machete attacks in the amakorokoza running battles. [11]

Poachers

A firearm, abandoned by two poachers, cornered by game scouts in the Bubye Valley Conservancy in April 2019, was a .303 rifle and not an AK47. The serial number (L9422) is not in the Central Firearms Registry, and it was not from the Zimbabwe National Army, spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore said in a statement. The officer commanding Beitbridge Police District Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo said the gun was found with seven rounds of ammunition. Police were still investigating. [12]

2020 Fraud

In January 2020, two senior employees at Defence House appeared before a Harare magistrate yesterday charged with fraud after they allegedly raised fake invoices valued at $306 135 claiming they were for cleaning services, and later converted the money to their own use. Peter Muchakadzi (55), a director in the Defence ministry, and Kunofiwa Marvyn Madondo (58), an accountant, appeared before magistrate Francis Mapfumo, who remanded them to January 23 on $5 000 and $3 000 bail, respectively. The two were ordered not to visit Defence House unless with the investigation officer and not to interfere with State witnesses. The complainant in the matter is Defence permanent secretary Gray Marongwe. Audrey Chogumaira appeared for the State. The Zimbabwe National Army has clarified that Peter Muchakadzi is not a member of the military, but a civilian employed by the Defence ministry.

In a statement, ZNA spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore also said reports that 30 tonnes of beef disappeared at Mbalabala barracks in Matabeleland South province were not true. [13]

2020 Coronavirus in Zimbabwe Lockdown

The 21 day national lockdown, in April 2020, to contain the spread of Coronavirus in Zimbabwe has resulted in allegations of assault cases involving security agents, deployed to enforce the lockdown, with most of the cases recorded in urban areas. Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum director Blessing Gorejena said her organisation had documented 51 assault cases.

Police challenged the assault victims to report to their nearest police stations, while ZNA spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore said the allegations of police and army brutality were false. “The issues you have raised with reference to the allegations against the Zimbabwe National Army members, who are assisting the Zimbabwe Republic Police in enforcing the lockdown, are not true. On the contrary and as a matter of fact, the broad spectrum of our citizens are complying with the lockdown without any adverse reports coming from either other security forces, government and community leaders involved in the national effort to curb the pandemic,” he said in a written response.

[14]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Further delays for Zimbabwe election, Brisbane Times, Published: 7 May 2008, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 Zimbabwe army speaks on political violence, Kubatana, Published: 8 May 2008, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  3. Military intensifies campaign for Zanu-PF, Name of Publication Here, Published: 21 June 2013, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  4. Artistes and camouflage: What are the consequences?, Name of Publication Here, Published: 7 August 2014, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  5. ZBC Management Unleashes Soldiers On Ex-Workers, Name of Publication Here, Published: 14 November 2015, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  6. Army demands special dispensation on salaries, The Independent, Published: 1 July 2016, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  7. Soldier killed in beer brawl, Nehanda Radio, Published: 11 March 2018, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  8. ‘Return Dzamara dead or alive’, Nehanda Radio, Published: 11 March 2018, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  9. Army says “bogus” soldiers behind beatings, Nehanda Radio, Published: 24 January 2019, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  10. Two soldiers killed in violent altercation with gold panners in Bindura, Nehanda Radio, Published: 16 April 2019, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  11. Army, police disown abandoned firearm , Zimbabwe Situation, Published: 26 April 2019, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  12. Defence ministry bosses in court, Zimbabwe Situation, Published: 10 January 2020, Retrieved: 9 April 2020
  13. Zimbabweans fume over lockdown brutality, Mbare Times, Published: 2 April 2020, Retrieved: 9 April 2020