09 AUGUST 2019
STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE ON THE INTENDED DEMONSTRATIONS
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 16th, 19th and 20th August 2019.
The Government is fully aware and recognises sections 58 and 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which grant citizens freedom of assembly and association and freedom to demonstrate and petition.
On the other hand, my Ministry has a responsibility to ensure that there is law and order in all parts of the country as enshrined in section 219 (1) (c) and (d) of the Constitution.
As Government, we are quite aware that there are political machinations to have these purported demonstrations turned into violent episodes through the use of overt and covert means. This includes the use of workshops by some Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), executive meetings by opposition political groups and labour organisations.
My Ministry has also observed an increase in social media posts where several threats and intimidatory tactics have been issued. Some of the messages are even dubbed “march for our lives, 16th August 2019” and the “start of final push, hatidzokere kumba, asibuyeli emakhaya”.
While the police is 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. This has been buttressed by 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.
The Government has a responsibility to protect citizens from unruly elements and will certainly not renege on this huge responsibility.
Some street kids have even been mobilised to embark on destruction and looting of shops in return for some goodies. Unmarked and plateless vehicles are being used to mobilise and pick the identified street kids in Central Business Districts (CBDs).
We are also aware that some foreign nationals are now in the country on the pretext of being tourists yet they are activists who are working closely with the opposition political parties to organise the perceived demonstrations. The foreigners include one who is known for masterminding the Arab spring and the recent Sudan clashes.
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.
Zimbabweans are therefore urged to continue observing peace and dutifully undertake their socio and economic activities knowing very well that the police and other security services are there to protect anyone who wants to move freely in any part of the country.
The Commissioner General of Police has promised the Ministry that the police is ready to deal with unruly elements who want to cause alarm and despondency in the country.
Members of the public are accordingly implored to remain calm and not be swayed into joining any violent conduct by the opposition under the pretext or guise of “peaceful demonstration”.
Ambassador N. C. G Mathema (Senator)
Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage
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