Michell Zvanyanya, Chronicle Reporter
THE MDC Alliance has engaged insurgents said to have masterminded the Arab Spring uprisings that overthrew elected governments in North Africa and roped in street kids to foment violence in its planned five-day countrywide protests.
The opposition party is organising demonstrations purportedly to protest against the alleged deteriorating economic situation in the country.
In a statement, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Cain Mathema said the Government is aware of political mechanisms used by the opposition party to turn the demonstrations, planned for this week, into a violent movement that will see property, Government buildings being destroyed and members of the public being attacked.
He said the Government is aware of foreign nationals who are in the country on the pretext of being tourists yet they are working closely with the opposition political parties to organise the demonstrations.
“The foreigners working with the opposition political parties include one who is known for masterminding the Arab Spring and the recent Sudan clashes,” said Minister Mathema.
“Let me remind foreigners who are clearly dabbling in local politics that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and will not allow people disguised as tourists to come and promote anarchy and destruction of property in the country.”
“Some street kids have even been mobilised to embark on destruction and looting of shops in return of some goodies. Unmarked and plateless vehicles are being used to mobilise and pick the identified street kids in the Central Business District (CDB).”
Minister Mathema urged members of the public to observe peace and dutifully undertake their economic activities ahead of demonstrations being organised by the MDC Alliance, saying they seek to trigger violence and despondency in the country.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage has been advised by the police and through the recent media stories that MDC Alliance has made several notifications to Regulating Authorities in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and other towns to hold demonstrations on the 16th and 20th August 2019,” he said.
“While the police are yet to give an official response on the notifications submitted by the opposition, the situation on the ground indicates that a lot of underhand activities under the guise of peaceful demonstrations are taking place with a view of fomenting violence, destruction of property, looting and attack on innocent citizens, motor vehicles, private property and government buildings.”
He said some of the political strategies being used include workshops by some of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs), executive meetings by opposition political groups and labour organisations.
Minister Mathema said MDC Alliance political activists in some suburbs in Harare have also been incited to use offensive weapons against law enforcers during the demonstrations.
“Fliers and pamphlets seen in Epworth, Mbare, Kuwadzana, Glenview and Chitungwiza where opposition political activists have been implored to bring offensive and dangerous weapons for use against law enforcement agents during the purported demonstrations,” said Minister Mathema.
He urged members of the public to remain calm and not get swayed into joining any violent activity by the opposition under the pretext of “peaceful demonstration.”
Minister Mathema said the ministry will also take responsibility in ensuring that there is law and order in all parts of the country as enshrined in the constitution.
Addressing Zanu-PF supporters in Bulilima East constituency last week, Defence and War Veterans’ Affairs Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the planned mass protests by MDC Alliance seek to cripple the developments being spearheaded by the ruling party across the country.
She urged members of the public to ignore the planned demonstrations, saying they are also an attempt to overthrow the constitutionally- elected Government.
The Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) Matabeleland region secretary, Mr Pardon Mangena last week also said the demonstrations will not solve the country’s economic challenges but will bring more misery to citizens.
On January 14, 2019 the MDC-Alliance called a stay away that degenerated into chaos, violence, vandalism and widespread looting.
Ordinary Zimbabweans bore the brunt as many lost property and were forced to shut down vandalised businesses.
Since then, peace loving Zimbabweans have ignored similar calls from the party and its affiliates. — @michellzvanyanyan2