‘Chamisa’s MDC urged to take government threats seriously’

Zimbabwe’s State Security Minister Owen Ncube

ANALYSTS and rights groups have advised MDC leaders to beware after authorities said the party was linked to a plot aimed at overthrowing President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the government from power.

This comes a few weeks after authorities thwarted the July 31 anti-government mass demonstrations – amid accusations by rights groups of human rights violations by security agents.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure, was among those who warned yesterday that the government’s claims were ominous for MDC Alliance leaders in particular.

“With the past experience that we have witnessed, people should take those threats seriously. It will be imprudent to brush them aside.

“This statement will further raise tension. It’s one of the most serious threats which the government can make against political rivals,” he told the Daily News.

Senior consultant at the International Crisis Group (ICG), Piers Pigou, said the government’s warning was probably meant to justify “an impending” clampdown on critics.

“This government and its predecessor have a very long record of making allegations they are unable to substantiate.

“This obviously feeds perceptions that the raft of allegations about regime change and its varying iterations is little more than a fabricated security narrative to justify its repressive course of action.

“For the moment, it appears that the strategy of selectively targeting certain critics is likely to continue,” Pigou told the Daily News.

Rights groups also warned that authorities were intent on silencing critics by issuing such statements against the opposition and pro-democracy groups.

“Serious human rights abuses are taking place in Zimbabwe. they are real, not imagined, and these include abductions and torture.

“Instead of threatening government critics, the authorities should listen to all citizens and find ways to improve people’s lives and guarantee all their rights,” Dewa Mavhinga, the Human Rights Watch director for southern Africa, said.

Meanwhile, the MDC Alliance has dismissed the claims by the government as “laughable”.

“They want to justify a clampdown on innocent Zimbabweans … MDC Alliance has nothing to do with anything that brings suffering to the ordinary people.

“This is desperation of the highest order. Let them confront the crisis in Zimbabwe. We are democratically mobilising and fighting for a people’s government,” MDC Alliance deputy spokesperson, Clifford Hlatywayo, told the Daily News.

This comes as State Security minister Owen Ncube has alleged that the opposition is part of a plot to smuggle guns into the country to topple Mnangagwa and his government from power.

“We are watching attempts to drive Zimbabwe into chaos. Some rogue elements among us are conniving with some hostile western governments to smuggle guns and set up so-called Democratic Resistance Committees that are, for all intents and purposes, violent militia groups.

“These plans are key components of ‘Operation Light House’, the brainchild of one western power that seeks to destroy the democratic foundations of Zimbabwe, make the country ungovernable and justify foreign intervention.

“We want to re-assure citizens that the State security sector is alive to the machinations of the MDC Alliance, hostile CSOs and their western handlers,” Ncube told journalists.

Source – dailynews