BY MOSES MATENGA
ZANU PF yesterday urged its supporters to beat up protesters who will take to the street on July 31 and threatened to kick out United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols for allegedly supporting the demonstrations.
The ruling party claimed the demonstrations were a ploy to violently remove President Emmerson Mnangagwa from power and urged its supporters to use “any means” to fight the protests and labelled the opposition MDC Alliance, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) “terrorist organisations” fronting the West to pursue a regime change agenda.
“Zanu PF calls upon our supporters, cadres and sympathisers wherever you are to remain alert and ready to defend our people, their property and most importantly, to defend peace in your communities against these malcontents, these hired hooligans and hoodlums who rejoice in burning properties and looting,” acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa (pictured) said.
Mnangagwa’s government has already arrested journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume, who had become the faces of the protests.
But Chinamasa said: “During the August 2018 violence and January 14 to 16 last year, when violence was unleashed against our people, against our supporters, they phoned us from Chiredzi, from Masvingo, asking for protection.
“We were unable to provide that security and protection. What we are saying to our supporters, to our people, is that they must know that when they are being attacked, the law enforcement agents may not be anywhere near the scene of crime. They must know that in those circumstances, their first line of defence is themselves and their families.”
He said the party supporters and sympathisers had a legal and constitutional right to defend themselves, their families, their spouses, their children, their property and possessions in the wake of violent attacks the party thinks will take place on July 31.
“Don’t ask for permission, it is your constitutional and legal right,” Chinamasa said.
“Don’t be intimidated by hooligans and mercenaries. Don’t be like sitting ducks like you were in August 2018 and January 2019, phoning us. This time, no! Use any means at your disposal to defend yourselves and we are saying this unambiguously. We are reminding our people that self-defence is a right especially when your security is under threat from these so-called violent protesters,” Chinamasa said.
The former Finance minister accused the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance of working with other groups, naming the ZCTU and CiZC to distabilise government. He labelled the MDC Alliance and others “terrorist organisations”.
“If the violent activities perpetrated by the opposition MDC were acts done in Europe or the US, they would have been branded a terrorist organisation, which in fact, is what they are, along with their Trojan horses like the ZCTU, CiZC and others which depend on foreign funding to promote their anti-people activities,” Chinamasa said.
CiZC director Blessing Vava, however, accused Zanu PF of “hallucinating”.
“Zanu PF must stop these hallucinations and seeing shadows in a dark room, the CiZC has not called for any demonstration, though it’s something provided for in the Constitution,” Vava said.
“If anything, our calls for a national dialogue have been consistent as one of the avenues to solve the crisis bedevilling our country.
“We have always been calling for peaceful means to address the challenges affecting our country. We are aware that this is a calculated attempt to clamp down on CSOs (civil society organisations), surely those who called for the demonstrations are known, and it’s certainly not us.”
ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo said Zanu PF was now employing primitive strategies to silence people and justify unleashing State security agents on them.
“That is very treacherous,” Moyo said.
“It is meant to intimidate people and it is a long-held primitive strategy that when you intend to victimise people, you first accuse them just like a leopard when it wants to eat its own cubs, it first accuses them of smelling like goats.”
He added: “Giving us these tags is a way of setting us up against Zanu PF. It’s an old strategy by those who are primitive. We represent the workers lawfully and have a mandate from members on their issues.”
Chinamasa also accused Chamisa of having a penchant for violence while his deputy Tendai Biti was accused of calling for further sanctions against Zimbabwe.
“Zanu PF calls upon Zimbabweans to reject impostors like the MDC Alliance, a political party which has since its formation thrown the interests of the country and the people to the dustbin in favour of neo-colonial interests which our people and the party fought to defeat,” he said.
He described Zimbabwe’s civil society as “evil society” working with the West to dethrone the Mnangagwa administration.
“Zanu PF is aware of all the machinations, including the much-talked about July 31 proposed violence which follows a well-choreographed script proposed by former US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Chester Crocker whose strategy was ‘make the Zimbabwe economy scream’ through sanctions and in the process ‘separate Zanu PF from the people.’ This is the illegal regime change script whose aim is to reverse the gains of our liberation struggle, in particular the land reform programme.”
On Nichols, Chinamasa said: “Concerning the machinations and antics of the US ambassador and his coterie of gangsters and mercenaries who are disguised as diplomats, I want to warn them and remind them that it is high time they got to know that Zimbabwe is a sovereign republic and we are a full sovereign State.”
He added: “The US ambassador, who I am told is African-American, must be ashamed of himself, totally ashamed of himself. What has the US to offer by way of values and human rights observance?
“And here, we have a black diplomat, who does not understand that history, who does not understand that reality in the US and has no shame to do the bidding of the establishment which is contrary to the interests of his own people.
“He continues to engage in acts of undermining this republic and if he does so, if he continues engaging in acts of undermining the republic, mobilising and funding disturbances, co-ordinating violence and training insurgency, our leadership will not hesitate to give him marching orders.”
He added: “Diplomats should not behave like thugs and Brian Nichols is a thug. We remind him that he is not a super-diplomat in this country. We have nothing to learn from the US or from those countries that imposed sanctions.”
Chinamasa thundered: “Don’t dare Zimbabwe, we are waiting for you. Diplomats have no right to come into a country and engage in subversive acts.”
“It is MDC Alliance who called for all this, funded by the US embassy and they started distributing fliers if you didn’t know,” Chinamasa said.
“They started it and there will be a serious response from our party.”
US embassy officials were not immediately available for comment.