DEFENCE minister Sydney Sekeramayi has rubbished social media messages doing the rounds that the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) had called for a state of emergency, banning all demonstrations by civic society and political parties with effect from yesterday.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Sekeramayi was asked by Midlands Senator Lillian Timveos to explain in the Senate if the social media reports were official statements from his ministry or the army.
Timveos said the social media reports that have been circulating said the ZNA was concerned by the escalating tensions in the country emanating from intra-party tensions in the ruling Zanu PF party as well as in the main opposition MDC-T, and civic strife that had seen civic groups to take to the streets demonstrating.
In the National Assembly, Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa also asked the government to clarify the issue because the messages doing the rounds bore the ZNA logo.
The messages read: “The ZNA is concerned by the escalating tensions and recommends suspension of both civic and political demonstrations from October 5. All stakeholders are obliged to adhere to these recommendations and any breach will attract remedial action from the force.
“ZNA will not sit on its laurels and watch citizen unrest perpetrated by citizens or foreigners.”
Sekeramayi said the message was being spread by elements that wanted to cause panic and despondency in the country.
“The ZNA and Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) have got official spokespersons, and when a statement is issued by official spokespersons, I will be able to reply to that, but I cannot be expected to reply to statements made by those that are not official statements of the ZNA or ZDF,” he said.
“I want to say that let us be careful of what is written on social media because there are people or organisations, who will be quite happy and want to celebrate if there is turmoil in this country. They spread this and that rumour to get the population agitated and make people uncertain about their own security and the security of the country.”
Sekeramayi continued: “So, we must be careful about taking statements at face value. As I said, the ZNA and ZDF have spokespersons, and if they speak it comes to my ministry as well.”
A week ago, Zimbabweans went into panic-buying mode after social media messages were spread that the country was going back to the 2008 era where there were food shortages and prices of commodities rose on a daily basis.