Addressing mourners at the National Heroes Acre during the burial of national hero, Major General (Rtd) Sydney Bhebhe at the national shrine yesterday, Mnangagwa said he would crack the whip on perpetrators of violence.
He was referring to the Nyatsime violence last week where CCC activists engaged in running battles with Zanu-PF supporters following the brutal murder of opposition activist Moreblessing Ali.
Mnangagwa said the Nyatsime violence was stage-managed ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled for Kigali, Rwanda from yesterday to Saturday, where Zimbabwe is seeking readmission.
“What happened recently in the Nyatsime township of Chitungwiza is deplorable and should never be repeated. The nation is now familiar with these shenanigans and incidences of staged violence, which are designed to tarnish the image of Zimbabwe, especially ahead of major international meetings,” Mnangagwa said.
“This time, the destabilising and violent theatrics by opposition elements are being done ahead of the CHOGM meeting in Rwanda. Shame on you if you are the leader of a political party that thrives on violence and the insecurity of our people.
“The levels and intensity of falsehoods being peddled by some opposition political parties to whip their supporters into orgies of violence, hate and disharmony, is now extremely worrisome and my administration will not stand by and watch. Violence has no place in the Zimbabwe we are building. We want peace, love and harmony. Equally, let us as a people shun all forms of self-hate, as well as the peddling of falsehoods and misinformation,” he said.
Mnangagwa warned that the law would be ruthless on perpetrators of violence without fear or favour.
“No one is above the law. I, thus, call upon our communities throughout the country to be vigilant against these destabilising and hateful political parties.”
Turning to Western countries, Mnangagwa blamed them for working with the opposition to perpetrate violence in the country.
“Meanwhile, it is regrettable that Zimbabwe continues to attract unwarranted interest from our former colonisers, who together with their supremacist proxies, mistakenly think that we are provinces of their countries. These meddlesome countries and their lobbyists, under various guises, preach democracy and good governance by day, whilst sponsoring and instigating nefarious activities, violence and instability in our country by night.”
CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said it was regrettable that instead of condemning the enforced disappearance and gruesome murder of Ali, Mnangagwa was politicking and blaming the opposition.
“We continue to condemn violence and call for a level political playing field as we approach 2023. The abuse of the police service to serve partisan ends. In the new Zimbabwe, political contestation will not be criminalised and the law will be applied evenly. CCC MPs Job Sikhala (Zengeza West) and Godfrey Sithole (Chitungwiza North) are in jail yet all they did was calling for justice for Moreblessing,” Mahere said.
She said Zanu-PF called for the “crushing like lice” of opposition supporters, and banned them from attending funerals of their supporters in Zanu-PF zones, and also threatened to “unleash dogs” on the opposition yet Mnangagwa was quiet about it.
“Zanu-PF supporters are never held to account at all for their clear criminal conduct,” Mahere said.
Commenting on Mnangagwa’s speech, political analyst Kudakwshe Munemo said: “It is a half-baked statement and one which contradicts itself as it is loaded with blame shift, denial and denouncing that politically-motivated violence is on the increase, by declaring it as stage-managed. The President must show commitment and allow the various arms of the State to fully investigate and deliver justice to the perpetrators, victims and the survivors.”
In his eulogy, Mnangagwa described Bhebhe, whose Chimurenga name was Yengani Dhlodlo, as a humble, reserved and unassuming man, yet an astute, honest, fearless and reliable military officer who served his country with unflinching loyalty.