Zimbabwe on knife-edge ahead of protests


Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) personnel

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) ZIMBABWE’S state security forces and anti-government protesters appear headed for another deadly showdown during nationwide protests planned for Friday.

The government has constantly unleashed law enforcement agents and the military during such demonstrations and a warning by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to arrest of individuals masterminding the protest action.

The looming protests against corruption and the economic crisis indicate another brutal response.

“I want to warn the organisers of this ill-fated demonstration that our security services will be vigilant and on high alert to appropriately respond to their shenanigans,” Mnangagwa said.

He once again accused influential Western nations of working with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A) to destabilize the government through such protests.

“It must never be in doubt that the objective of these rogue Zimbabweans acting in cahoots with foreign appendages, supporters, and financiers, is to stage an insurrection to overthrow our democratically elected Government,” Mnangagwa said.

Critics accuse Mnangagwa of reneging on his promise of upholding human rights after taking over from Robert Mugabe (now late) after a military coup in 2017.

Kazembe Kazembe, the Home Affairs Minister, who is in charge of police, also threatened protesters, warning the mass action was illegal. The protests also could breach restrictions against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Anyone who disregards this warning and proceeds to join the planned insurrection to steal power will be met by the full wrath of the law,” Kazembe warned.

Already, police have arrested Jacob Ngarivhume, leader of the little-known opposition Transform Zimbabwe (TZ) and investigative journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono, for allegedly inciting the public to protest.

Several activists, including opposition legislators and government critics have been declared wanted.

Last year, at least 12 people were killed and over 600 others arrested as impoverished Zimbabweans took to the streets to protests a 130 percent fuel increase and economic decline.

Mnangagwa’s government came under international condemnation.

– CAJ News

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