Govt plots opposition clampdown

THE panicky government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly put its security arms on high alert as part of measures to clamp down on leaders of opposition parties, non-governmental organisations and labour unions ahead of next week’s mass protests over the deteriorating economic situation in the country, NewsDay has learnt.

BY EVERSON MUSHAVA/XOLISANI NCUBE

Well-placed government sources have revealed that the country’s security apparatus has been put on high alert to deal with the impending strikes that could pose a serious threat to Mnangagwa’s rule.

The security fears were amplified by threats of crippling demonstrations by teachers, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) as well as the opposition MDC, beginning next week.

According to sources, Mnangagwa fears the protests, mainly involving underpaid civil servants, could be hijacked by his political rivals to effect regime change.

“The security agents are on high alert. There is fear that the proposed protests by teachers, ZCTU and the opposition may force things off hand, especially coming at a time when schools open and parents cannot afford to pay the hiked fees and uniforms,” a source told NewsDay.

“There was a meeting this week by the Joint Operations Command, and one of the major issues was to call on President Mnangagwa to address the deteriorating economic situation in the country to avoid a security crisis. The demonstrations will be met with force from government.”

Mnangagwa is still battling to contain a month-long strike by public hospital doctors, who want to be paid in United States dollar-denominated salaries, among other grievances.

He was forced to abort his annual leave early this week to help his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, deal with the matter.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba on Wednesday warned opposition parties and non-governmental organisations to stay out of the impasse between government and the striking doctors.

Mnangagwa last year repeatedly warned the opposition MDC, whose protests have attracted huge crowds, of abusing the democratic space provided by his government, adding he would soon run out of patience.

Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema yesterday, however, professed ignorance on the planned clampdown on protesters.

“I am hearing this issue from you. What do you want government to do? To have them in prison? I don’t know what you are talking about,”Mathema said.

But MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said his party was not deterred by State threats of a clampdown on opposition leaders.

“It is clear that their own incompetence, inefficiency and cluelessness have become a danger to themselves. They are running away from their shadow,” Mafume said.

“The people of Zimbabwe have a right to protest and express themselves using constitutional means. We are not deterred. We know they have demons of war and like Legion, they will find pigs to possess and fall off the cliff of dictatorship. We remain committed to representing the interests of the people within the confines of the Constitution.”

ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo also vowed to go ahead with the planned protests.

“We want to make it clear that we are not afraid of them. We are ready for them. We know they have been doing this for years so that they could retain power,” he said.

“We are aware that hospitals are waiting for us after being beaten by the police. We are aware that the prisons are waiting for us because this rogue regime, without due care for its citizens, is going to arrest us for exercising our rights”

Added Moyo: “Let it be known that they can kill us, fight us and do all sorts of things, but the economy will not change because of that. Government should direct its energy towards the economy and not unarmed civilians.”

Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said no amount of threats would deter them.

“We are going ahead; no one is going to stop us. Even if we are going to stay at home, there are worse horrors at home than at [Finance minister] Mthuli Ncube’s office.
We will be looking at our children who can’t go to school because we don’t have school fees, and that there is no food and money,” Masaraure said.

“Even those who want to go to work will be unable to (do so) because they don’t have money.”

18 Comments

  1. This is utter nonsense how can the government of the day be worried by these petty shows when in actual fact there are on record to say people are free to demostrate as long as they meet the requirements of the law and they do not engage in anarchy, cheap story and infact people are no longer excited by these clueless walks in our streets , majority have moved on .

    1. Do you live in the shoes of someone “at the top”?
      You seem to lack a basic capacity to actually think for yourself.

      1. i live in a world were democracy is the order of the day and once elections are over we move on and wait for the next round of voting after 5 years and toy toying and doing press ups in the middle of the urban roads has never changed a flipping thing in any democratic country but you guessed it elections do change a government.

  2. about time someone stands up against these bullies

    1. Well said @Anonymous these bullies think the country is their personal property like Mugarbage and bet they will be telling the international community they are transparent and democratic ?

  3. Clamping down opposition parties will not fix the economy.

    1. Yes, Sinyo. Cde ED just needs to clamp down on poverty and corruption. With good governance all the problems will disappear. Even Biti and Nelson Chamisa will go back to their law firms and ED will live happily ever after.

  4. Mnangagwa has every reason to remain alert following the civil unrest already going on in various countries such as Sudan, Venezuela, among others.
    A similar network spread too fast in 2011 and dismantled many dictators.
    That notwithstanding, Zimbabwe’s current economic status cannot be redeemed overnight and the change of leadership cannot bring an automatic remedy.
    As such President Mnangagwa must admit that he inherited a bankrupt nation and engage experts from all quarters to dismantle this stalemate.
    Zimbabwe may be volatile to civil disobedience following current economic status but this energy can better be directed to a worthy cause.
    A wise man changes his mind often – Mnangagwa and Chamisa should better drop their egoes and engage one another on the economic breakthrough which will automatically quel the political hostility that continues to dominate the nation.
    Everything else will follow!

  5. Picture yevarwere! kudungira mapiritsi nembashto chete chete ndizvo zvozikamwa.

  6. The three patients need help. South African hospitals are open for business!

  7. Neither does striking fix the economy. The nation needs to put heads together to map out a national solution which includes removal of sanctions.

  8. their days are numbered

  9. This is like trying to stop a moving train the will of the people is in motion and cannot be stopped. Negotiation is the only way out.

  10. Was he meaning it when he was saying I am a listening president? The voice of people is the voice of God, was Mnangagwa meaning it? If he listens to the voice of God bond notes must have disappeared last year together with Mangudya uye wekudya mari. Mangudyamari must also resign before the wave come.This can be a good start for our economy also dialogue is the best medicine of all things.

  11. Many problems …one solution… No more Bond no more problems

  12. Hatina nguva ye toyi toyi isu.

  13. Mugarbage ways just continuing as usual!

  14. Eliasha, if you ‘live in a world where democracy is the order of the day’ you clearly don’t live in Zimbabwe, so don’t know what you’re talking about!!! Zimbabweans would love to move on but unfortunately they don’t have fuel, money, food, water etc… so they can’t move on and have no choice but to make a stand in whatever way they can!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *