Zimbabwe Police on high alert as opposition plots demos

Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema
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THE Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Cain Mathema, has directed Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to ensure that police officers are on high alert and ready to deal with acts of violence or destruction of property following revelations that the opposition MDC-Alliance has lined up August demonstrations to destabilise the country.

In a statement yesterday, Mathema said the Government has gathered that the MDC-A was mobilising its supporters to embark on demonstrations, but Government will not tolerate anarchy.

“My ministry has directed the Commissioner-General of police to ensure that, officers are on high alert and ready to deal with any acts of violence or destruction of property.

We appeal to all peace loving Zimbabweans to ignore these calls for demonstrations which are detrimental to the social economy development thrust of the Government,” he said.

MDC-A and its partners, Mathema said, have been holding a number of meetings to organise the demonstrations.

Mathema said some of the evidence included a recent MDC Provincial Youth Executive meeting held in Harare where the members resolved to mobilise the public and engage in civil disobedience in order to remove the Government or force Zanu-PF to the negotiating table.

“Let me take this opportunity to warn any organisation, be it political or otherwise that is agitating or organising civil disobedience that the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other security services have a mandate of maintaining law and order in the country.

Anyone who engages in intimidation, incitement, threats or violence will only have himself to blame,” he said.

Information gathered indicates that during the meeting in Harare the youths made it clear that funding for the demonstration will be provided by the Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) through the Norwegian People’s Aid, National Council of Swedish Youth Organisation and the Danish Council.

“The money was initially earmarked for implementing youth developmental programmes in the country and is now being diverted for nefarious activities. In the same vein Government had it on good authority that the MDC National Standing Committee met at Harvest House and endorsed the call for demonstrations by the youths,” he said.

It is understood that human rights lawyers and doctors will render assistance to demonstrators in the event of arrests or injury.

The party is also reportedly in the process of identifying new safe houses for co-ordinating the demonstrations.

Mathema said the Government was aware that a candlelight night vigil has been set for Thursday and rallies scheduled for Epworth this coming weekend and the by-election campaign rallies in Glen View South are targeted to mobilise people to demonstrate.

He said the Government was fully aware that the opposition has also taken a position to partner and support Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) under the banner of labour movements where 18 affiliates met and cited what they call the “worsening economic environment in the country” as the reason to engage in demonstrations.

“Clearly there is a link between the MDC and ZCTU, it is disturbing that ZCTU is now being used to dabble into politics instead of labour issues,” said Cde Mathema.

He said all peace loving Zimbabweans must ignore these calls to demonstrate which are detrimental to the social economic development thrust of the Government.

He further assured the nation that the Government through relevant ministries and departments are working flat out to improve the living conditions of all people in the country.

“Therefore, peace is paramount if the nation is to realise the desired goal of economic prosperity,” said Mathema.