President Robert Mugabe yesterday said he was fast running out of patience with MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition parties and pressure groups protesting against his government, threatening to deal with them decisively.
by Everson Mushava
Addressing his party’s central committee, Mugabe said Tsvangirai and his supporters were playing a “very dangerous game” and his government would not fold its arms while violence scaled up across the country in the name of electoral reform protests.
Mugabe said MDC-T and the other opposition parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) should be sternly cautioned of grave consequences, warning them they will not win the war.
“Let the opposition parties and all those angling for chaos and mayhem, and violent demonstrations be warned that our patience has run out,” he boomed.
“Government will take very strong measures against any political party, organisation or individuals that perpetuate violent demonstrations.
“Anybody breaking the law will be punished accordingly. The MDC and its supporters are playing a very dangerous game.
“We also understand that they are planning to terrorise the rural areas in the mistaken belief that they can intimidate and harass our supporters, let them be warned they cannot win the war.”
Mugabe said protesters should not “cry when we go for them”.
“We don’t want those who will cry, saying there is no more democracy when we go for them. Democracy does not mean destroying people’s property, beating people and looting. We are there to defend true democracy, which is peace and non-violence,” he said.
“And if they take actions that are painful, they have only themselves to blame. Most of them have never been in a prison cell, where food will be thrown to them and ordered to eat facing their own waste.”
The country has been rocked by demonstrations in the past few months, with pressure groups such as Tajamuka/Sesijikile and #ThisFlag mobilising through social media to successfully stage a complete shutdown of the country.
Nera also joined in the act, but their protest was violently crushed by the police.
But Mugabe yesterday attacked Nera, accusing opposition political parties of trying to make the country ungovernable in order to invite foreign intervention.
He said the opposition was afraid of losing the 2018 polls, which he said would be held under the same conditions Nera was fighting against.
Mugabe further accused Nera of inviting Western countries to reinforce sanctions against the country and using protests to derail his efforts to resuscitate the economy.
“The demonstrations we have witnessed in the last few weeks were not by accident of history, but were purposefully choreographed and launched in the mistaken belief that time was ripe for a popular uprising against government and Zanu PF,” he said.
“Zanu PF remains alive to, and does not need to be reminded about the continuing everyday economic challenges facing all our people today. What is happening around us with these concocted demonstrations is distracting us from progressing on with our concerted efforts aimed at improving the performance of our national economy and the welfare of the people.”
Mugabe also warned opposition parties against using social media to force regime change, saying political support should not be by force.
Mugabe lashed out at the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for “peddling falsehoods” that Zanu PF was embarking on partisan distribution of food.
“We are committed that all the people in drought-stricken areas receive food,” he said.
“The information, which some stupid people and stupid spokesperson of Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission; that food is being distributed in a partisan manner is actually false.”
“They just want to make headlines internationally. They don’t have shame. It is because of the little money they are getting as non-governmental organisations.”