MDC calls for probe into crashed military chopper

Crash: Alouette III helicopter

HARARE – Nelson Chamisa’s opposition MDC has called for an inquiry into an Alouette III helicopter that was forced into crash landing in the Mchakazi area in Gutu Central this week.

The helicopter crash-landed near Ranga School after it developed a fault while airborne.

According to State TV, the chopper was travelling to Gutu from Harare.

Acting Masvingo provincial administrator Roy Hove told State TV the helicopter developed a fault before arriving at its intended destination.

The pilot eventually managed to control and land the chopper and in the process the wheels and propeller were damaged, according to Hove.

Among those on board the helicopter were Defence secretary Martin Rushwaya.

No injuries were sustained.

The MDC said the crash-landing of a military chopper in Gutu exposes the rot in the public sector.

“That a public official, a mere permanent secretary flies around on private visits in a military chopper is mind-boggling,” Jacob Mafume, the MDC national spokesperson said in a statement yesterday.

“A military chopper is State property only to be used for purposes of protecting the Zimbabwean State, its territorial integrity and its citizens.

“A private graduation of a low-ranking officer is not part of this obligation. Neither is a private graduation linked to the thwarting of vital threats of the State.”

Mafume said “there must be a proper audit of resources in the sector and information availed to Zimbabwean people save for that which falls under classified operations”.

“More importantly, a chopper belonging to the State was crushed on private business, the permanent secretary must compensate Zimbabweans by paying the equivalent of the damage to the asset.”

“Further reimbursement must be done to the State to the tune of the flying cost, including previous trips done using military equipment,” Mafume said.

“This entails that a detailed inquiry be conducted in respect of routine and operational use of military equipment and measures to combat further abuse of military
resources be put in place. Murky use of public resources in any government department must come to an end.”