HARARE – Some elements in the opposition have been actively working with foreign missions under an operation code-named “Operation Lighthouse” to cause civil disturbances in the country under the cover of hardships caused by coronavirus, it has been learnt, the state media said.
According to the State media, the elaborate plot was designed to culminate in bloodshed that would have attracted condemnation and further isolation of the country, which is currently trying to engage and re-engage with the world.
Confidential information gleaned by this paper showed that the operation was supposed to have been rolled out in three phases, with the first stage expected to be ignited through “sporadic” or “flash” demonstrations.
Calculated to coincide with the ongoing lockdown, where restrictions on movement have been imposed, the demonstrations were expected to provoke a disproportionate reaction from the security forces after which international condemnation was expected to follow.
“In line with this, the recent flash demonstration led by MDC Harare West Member of Parliament Joana Mamombe, in Warren Park, was supposed to be the trigger for phase two.”
Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri allegedly led a demonstration in Warren Park, Harare, on May 13, 2020.
They later claimed to have been abducted by security agents.
Sources privy to investigations that were later conducted by security details, however, reportedly uncovered “incontrovertible” evidence that located the trio in various parts of the capital at a time they were claiming to have been abducted.
This culminated in the arrest of the political activists last week.
It is believed that this information will form some of the evidence that would be led in court.
But the latest “abduction” was designed to spawn a blood-letting “spontaneous uprising” “Arab-spring style”.
The frenzied tweeting, which was tailored to stoke emotions, betrayed the plans, the sources said.
They were subsequently followed by foreign embassies expressing their “shock and concern” within hours of the development in flagrant disregard of diplomatic etiquette.
Worryingly, it is believed that there were some foreign missions that were prepared to provide small firearms that would have been used to entrap the security services.
The firearms were reportedly supposed to be trafficked disguised as food aid.
Added the source: “As hoped by the plotters, a proportionate response to armed protestors would culminate in collateral damage, which would cause more outrage and ultimately, full-blown conflict. Safe houses had even been established around Harare in Waterfalls, Bluffhill, Epworth and Zengeza to house the identified instigators after the expected bloody confrontations.”
The schemers behind “Operation Lighthouse” hoped the bloodshed would have led to foreign intervention under the guise of “protecting human rights”.
But the nascent plan was blunted by alert security agents.
“Operation Lighthouse” comes at a time when Zimbabwe is under coordinated and unrelenting attacks on the political and economic front, with most of the onslaught being launched on social media, particularly Twitter, against President Mnangagwa and the Government.
Addressing a Politburo meeting in the capital last week, President Mnangagwa said: “In the last few weeks, we have witnessed an upsurge in the unwarranted onslaught against the party, Government, its leadership, policies and programmes.
“This culminated in the purported abductions of three MDC Alliance-linked activists.
“Concurrently, during this period was the resurgence of hate speech and language, which are not characteristic of the values we seek to be embedded in our country under the Second Republic. On the economic front, we are witnessing a relentless attack on our currency and the economy in general through exorbitant pricing models.”
It is the same plot that had been outed by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe a fortnight ago.
Apprising the media on the investigations surrounding the alleged abductions, the Minister observed: “Most intriguingly, there is concurrently evolved a palpable pattern whereby certain foreign missions accredited to Zimbabwe are in the habit of misleading their capitals through purported intelligence gathered from these same dubious sources. Some foreign diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe have quite often not shied from engaging in anti-Government activism which renders it difficult to differentiate them from card carrying members of the opposition.
They also have in the process, brazenly jettisoned any semblance of diplomatic impartially and finesse in blatant violation of the peremptory norms of international law. This has resulted in the quite surprising adversarial stance and policies that some of the big powers are then projecting and unashamedly pronouncing against Zimbabwe. Some foreign capitals have also tried to arrogate unto themselves, based on these false narratives, the choice of nations that Zimbabwe should relate with.”