GOVERNMENT yesterday said it is ready to thwart any unsanctioned dissent in the wake of threats by the country’s largest opposition political party — the MDC — to unleash crippling protests in a bid to push President Emmerson Mnangagwa out of power.
MDC president Nelson Chamisa told the media on Tuesday that the country was now ripe for a revolution he would lead against Mnangagwa’s government, which he accused of failing to arrest a deepening political and economic crisis.
Chamisa’s statement follows an equally hard-hitting one by MDC deputy national chairperson Job Sikhala, who early this week urged Zimbabweans to pour onto the streets and demand the removal of Zanu PF from power.
“YOU KNOW THIS REGIME HAS BEEN ABUSING, TORMENTING AND PERSECUTING ME SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL. LET THEM BE WARNED NOW THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. DON’T PUSH ME TO THE CORNER. I AM ALSO A HUMAN BEING.
“AND WHEN YOU HEAR ME SAYING THIS, IT MEANS THAT I AM NOW IN A VERY DANGEROUS MOOD.
“FRANKLY, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I HAVE BEEN ARRESTED 64 TIMES AND HAVE BEEN ACQUITTED OF ALL THE STUPID AND MANUFACTURED CHARGES.
“YOU CAN’T CONTINUE BASHING A MAN AND STILL EXPECT HIM TO CONTINUE FOLDING HIS ARMS. THIS IS A DANGEROUS GAME THAT THEY ARE PLAYING.
“AN ELEPHANT WAS KILLED BY AN ANT. I AM NOT GOING TO LEAVE ANY STONE UNTURNED TO GET REDRESS ON THE ABUSE WE HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO BY THESE EVIL MEN AND WOMEN,” SIKHALA SAID.
Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe warned yesterday that any acts of anarchy by the opposition will be ruthlessly dealt with.
“WHOEVER BREAKS THE LAW WILL BE DEALT WITH ACCORDING TO THE LAW. THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS IN OUR COUNTRY HAVE THE CAPACITY TO DEAL WITH ANY ILLEGAL DISTURBANCES. THE POLICE HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE TO PROTECT THE PEACE-LOVING PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE AS WELL AS THEIR PROPERTIES,” SAID KAZEMBE.
Asked to comment on Chamisa’s threat to lead “crippling demonstrations,” police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said they would not allow any disturbance of peace in the country.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)’s mandate is to maintain a peaceful environment. Our role is to make sure that people are living in a peaceful environment. It’s is clear what is supposed to be done when someone wants to protest or petition, he or she must follow proper procedures.
“The conveners must take into consideration that innocent people want to do their business without being affected by demonstrations. The law is very clear that those who cause chaos in the country will be dealt with,” Nyathi warned.
This comes as efforts to have Mnangagwa and Chamisa hold much-needed talks to help fix the country are faltering, with hawks within both Zanu PF and the MDC said to be rabidly opposed to dialogue between the two men.
Addressing a media conference in Harare on Tuesday, Chamisa also said it was now time for long-suffering Zimbabweans “to make sacrifices”.
“IF WE ARE GOING TO BE OUT IN OUR MILLIONS, NO GUN IS EFFECTIVE AGAINST PEOPLE WHO ARE DETERMINED AND RESOLUTE.
“WE ARE NOT WEAK PEOPLE, BUT STRONG PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN PEACE. THEY (ZANU PF AND THE GOVERNMENT) MUST NOT TAKE US FOR GRANTED,” CHAMISA SAID.
He rallied citizens to participate in the planned mass protests which he said he would lead.
He said a revolution in Zimbabwe was now inevitable due to the worsening economic circumstances.
After Chamisa’s emotive press conference, some youths believed to be linked to the MDC, embarked on flash demonstrations in Harare on Tuesday.
Political analyst Admire Mare said the current biting situation is a recipe for protest movements.
“It’s clear that the socio-economic challenges facing the country are creating a cocktail of resurgent protest politics. The situation creates a recipe for confrontational politics yet dialogue remains the best option for the country.
“Politicians must set aside their differences and chart a unified vision and planning for the good of the citizenry. The country has been trapped in an election and polarisation for too long. Something has to give for Zimbabwe to experience socio-economic and political revival,” said Mare.
Media and human rights activist Rashweat Mukundu blamed Mnangagwa.
He said: “This is an escalation of the political crisis in Zimbabwe. … Mnangagwa is failing to solve the crisis, people are suffering, they can’t afford a meal. Youths are struggling in the streets Chamisa is just reiterating what is being felt by the people of Zimbabwe.
“Without political leaders coming together to discuss the current crisis, we are going to have chaos in the name of more protests. People will migrate out of this country. We are likely to witness violence which we saw in January 2019 and August 2018.”