NATIONAL Housing and Social Amenities minister Daniel Garwe who doubles as Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson has issued a chilling warning to the opposition while also bragging that the ruling party enjoys massive support from the Judiciary and security forces.
Addressing party supporters in Seke on Tuesday, Garwe said the ruling party will do anything to ensure President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-election next year.
His address was captured on video and the clip has gone viral.
“Courts, military and police belong to Zanu PF; even health workers belong to Zanu PF. Actually we own almost everything,” Garwe said.
“President [Emmerson] Mnangagwa said the country does not tolerate violence but if they (opposition) provoke us, definitely we are going to fight them and deal with them accordingly.
“We are preparing a whip for all those who insult Mnangagwa as we are preparing for our 2023 elections. Don’t keep quiet if someone insults your President, we have to fight back and defend him.”
Yesterday, Garwe demanded questions to be sent to him in writing, but had not responded to them at the time of going to print.
His remarks came as the country has registered a spike in cases of politically-motivated violence across all provinces ahead of next year’s polls. Two months ago, former State Security minister Owen Ncube made similar threats at a Zanu PF campaign rally in Mberengwa, Midlands province.
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National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said he had not had sight of Garwe’s video clip.
“I’m not aware of the video. I’m currently travelling,” Nyathi said.
Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust (ZEAT) executive director Ignatious Sadziwa said Garwe must be must censored over the inflammatory remarks.
“It’s sad that we have political party rogue elements that fan violence with impunity. This is what we have been saying that we can't have free and fair elections amid such violence and squalor. Violence has no place in a constitutional democracy like Zimbabwe,” Sadziwa said.
Election Resource Centre (ERC) director Barbra Bhebe said Section 67 of the Constitution guarantees the right to campaign freely and peacefully.
“As the country prepares for the 2023 elections, the ERC urges political parties and all stakeholders to abstain from violence, practice restraint, and campaign peacefully. Political parties must refrain from confrontational behaviour and from encouraging their supporters to use violence,” Bhehe said.
On Thursday, civic society organisations (CSOs) expressed concern over organised violence ahead of the 2023 elections during a Zoom meeting.
Contributing to the discussion, Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko said “signs on the ground do not point to free and fair elections.”
“Of greatest concern is the importation of violence by the ruling party. The ruling party is finding it difficult to cut through, hence they will have to use force against citizens,” Mukoko said.
But Zanu PF information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi accused opposition parties and CSOs of cooking up stories on political violence.
“This should be the last time that we should be asked for a comment on the basis of stories cooked by the opposition. Repeatedly, we have advised those who care to listen that CCC (Citizens Coalition for Change) has no tangible solutions or campaign programmes besides hiding on theories of human rights and faking victimhood to solicit undeserved sympathies. That has been them since 1999 to date,” Mugwadi said.