HARARE – Political activists and civic organisations sponsored by the MDC Alliance to engage in illegal demonstrations dubbed “The Winter Jest” over the Independence Day weekend have been told that security services are on high alert and will enforce all the laws, including the Covid-19 anti-gathering health regulations.
Some local and international organisations are reportedly providing funds through individuals and the civic organisations to cause disturbances during this year’s 41st Independence anniversary.
Speaking in Harare yesterday, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe urged the public to ignore messages circulated by the MDC Alliance that call on people not to celebrate and observe the country’s independence.
All gatherings for the anniversary in excess of 50 people have already been banned as part of efforts to control Covid-19 infection rates.
“My ministry has directed the Commissioner-General of Police (Godwin Matanga) to take action on some political activists, individuals and civic organisations being fronted by the MDC Alliance and have openly threatened to engage in a series of illegal demonstrations dubbed ‘The Winter Jest’,” said Minister Kazembe.
“The police and other security services will be on high alert and ready to defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. May I warn those who are planning and coordinating these illegal demonstrations that the law will take its course.
“Local and internationally based organisations who are providing funding through individuals and the so-called civic organisations’ proxies are duly warned to stop fomenting disorder in the country and will be held accountable for any criminal acts perpetrated by groups who are obviously bidding for opposition political parties in the country.”
Police are already monitoring the venues where secret meetings are being held to mobilise for illegal demonstrations. The peace and safety of all citizens was guaranteed as Zimbabwe celebrates its 41st Independence Day tomorrow, said Minister Kazembe.
He said people were free to conduct all lawful activities in a peaceful manner and taking into consideration the Covid-19 prevention measures.
“Covid-19 knows no boundary, creed, status or religion,” he said. “In this regard, Zimbabweans should observe and comply with the Government of Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
“We can only fight this invisible enemy if we remain united as a people. May I reiterate His Excellency, President E.D Mnangagwa’s message that no gatherings will be allowed during this independence holiday.
“The public should continue prioritising the wearing of face masks, practicing social distancing and sanitisation at all times. Social gatherings, which include churches and funerals, should strictly observe the stipulated maximum of 50 people.”
Police have been challenged to ensure that all the Covid-19 regulations were complied with.
Government is concerned that some church and funeral gatherings are openly exceeding the stipulated number of 50, with some gatherings going beyond 1 000.
Some church congregants and mourners were clashing with police officers on enforcement duties.
“These are a conduit for Covid-19 super-spreaders,” said Minister Kazembe. The law will take its course without fear or favour on such errant gatherings which expose the public to Covid-19 pandemic.”
Zimbabwe celebrates the 41st Independence on the background of a successful agricultural season, as well as rapid infrastructural development projects implemented by the Second Republic towards industrialisation and economic transformation. – Herald