Government has dismissed as false and misleading reports in the private media claiming President Mnangagwa threatened to track down lawyers who represented rioters and doctors who treated people who were injured during the MDC-Alliance instigated violent demonstrations last month.
In a statement, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said such reports were deliberately distorted to suit a political narrative.
“We have noted with dismay the attempts to distort, render mischievous translation and deliberately twist His Excellency President Mnangagwa’s message at a Zanu-PF rally in Mwenezi on Saturday 16 February, 2019. Clearly the usual detractors are out to create what is patently fake news.
“Media reports that the President threatened to track down lawyers who represented arrested rioters or doctors who treated the injured during the recent violent disturbances were not only misleading, but were deliberately distorted to suit a well-known political narrative,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said during his speech in Mwenezi, the President categorically rebuked some non-governmental organisations that played an active role in inciting rioters to destroy property, loot shops and block roads.
She said incitement of this nature was illegal at law.
“These NGO officials, be they doctors or lawyers, are liable for prosecution like anyone else who is alleged to have broken the law. Although NGOs have a cast iron legal right to freely operate in Zimbabwe, they are not above the law.
“NGO officials who offended the law during the ill-fated disturbances will have their day in court like every other citizen,” she said.
She said also noted were mischievous attempts to massage and decontextualise the President’s message on current plots by the opposition to stage more violent disturbances.
“False reports have emerged indicating that the President said that he wanted to ‘crush his enemies’. That is far from the truth. President Mnangagwa clearly stated that Government will emphatically deal with any attempts to destabilise the country in the future.
“He urged those who wanted to pursue peace to freely do so while he reminded those who want to sow seeds of violence that the law will equitably deal with them,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said in his own words, the President said, “Aiwa ndiri kuudza nyika yose zvayo kuti vasingadi runyararo moita izvozvo moinda kumhirizhonga. Asi vanoda runyararo garai kudzimba dzenyu titarisane nevanenge vachiita mhirizhonga tigovagadzirisa (those who don’t want peace can join the violent anarchists,but those who prefer peace should stay away from the anarchy and leave us to deal decisively with the merchants of destruction).”
Government implored media houses to report responsibly by sticking to the truth and seek clarity where they are not sure.
“I would like to emphasise once again that the President, His Excellency Cde E.D Mnangagwa as a lawyer by profession is a committed constitutionalist. Those who respect the law of the land have nothing to fear,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.