THE Zanu PF youth league in Mashonaland East province yesterday held an emergency meeting in Marondera to devise ways to thwart tomorrow’s nationwide protests organised by the MDC.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA/PRECIOUS CHIDA/NUNURAI JENA
NewsDay is reliably informed that the league’s provincial members met to map the way forward on how to prevent the demonstrations by protesters who are irked by the current economic crisis, which has resulted in the majority of citizens facing survival challenges.
Provincial youth chairperson Kelvin Mutsvairo confirmed the meeting, saying the youth league was prepared for a head-on with violent protesters in the province.
“As the youth league, we are prepared for a head-on with protesters in this province. We don’t tolerate violence as occurred in January, hence the move to defend peace-loving and progressive people of Zimbabwe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been on record calling political players to come to the table and present their ideas that will benefit the nation, he has an open door policy,” he said.
In January, protesters besieged and pulled down Dombotombo Police Station and overpowered police officers, who scampered for cover, while some of them were injured in the attack. The protesters allegedly ransacked the police station, stealing computers, teargas canisters and destroying dockets.
A man was also shot dead in Dombotombo suburb by suspected police officers who were trying to disperse the crowd before hundreds, including the MDC Alliance councillors, were arrested and charged with inciting the violence.
“The MDC Alliance should take heed to President Mnangagwa’s call for dialogue if they are serious about dealing with the economic crisis, not war. We will match the protestors as we do not tolerate violence,” Mutsvairo added.
Following the announcement of the protest dates, Zanu PF has been responding with threats to block the protesters, with some top officials openly declaring that the army would thwart the demonstrations.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF-linked cleric Obadiah Msindo said, while protesting was a right enshrined in the Constitution, the opposition party should ensure the process is peaceful to safeguard democracy, economic prosperity and national cohesion.
“Yes, demonstrating is their right, but if it turns violent, it ceases to be a right because it violates other people’s rights,” he said.
Alleging that there were criminal elements and other political forces, even in the ruling party and former Zanu PF members booted out of government who are bitter with the presidency of Mnangagwa, he added: “They are itching to use such an opportunity to remove the President through violence.”
Meanwhile, some Zanu PF youths from across the country will gather at the Harare Gardens starting today until tomorrow for “farming lessons” ahead of the Harare Agricultural Show.
Speaking ahead of the arrival of provincial delegates in Harare yesterday, Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Vengai Musengi, who is co-ordinating the event, said Zanu PF youths would not disrupt the opposition MDC protests as long as they are peaceful.
“Our farming lessons were organised last month and had nothing to do with MDC protests. We will not disrupt their activities, but the Zanu PF youth will be forced to interfere if they disrupt our activities,” Musengi said.
But the ruling party’s Mashonaland West youth league issued a statement warning MDC members to shun violence.
“We do, hereby, categorically and unequivocally state that Mashonaland West province is strongly behind President Mnangagwa and government, as such, we will not tolerate, let alone allow violence and chaos to reign supreme in our province. Violence is alien to our province. The youth league will not stand in akimbo and watch as elements of disorder destroy properties. We are ready to defend our vote!” the statement read.