At a press conference in Harare today, the ruling party spokesperson former cabinet minister Patrick Chinamasa rallied his party members and urged them to get ready to defend their sovereignty, peace, property and people.
Speaking at the press conference at the Zanu PF headquarters, Chinamasa said, in case law enforcement officers were not close by, Zanu PF members must get ready to fight back should the protestors who he called all sorts of names including hooligans and mercenaries go ahead and protest on 31 July.
Said the former Cyber Security Minister:
Zanu PF calls upon our supporters, cadres and sympathisers, wherever you are, to remain alert and ready to defend yourselves, defend our people, their property and most importantly defend peace in your communities against these malcontents, these hired hooligans and hoodlums who rejoice at burning properties and looting.
They must know that when they are being attacked, law enforcement agents might not be near. In those circumstances, their first line of defence is themselves and their families. They have a legal and constitutional right to defend themselves. Don’t ask for permission from anybody, it’s your constitutional and legal right.
Don’t be intimidated by hooligans and mercenaries. Don’t be like sitting ducks as you were in August 2018, don’t be sitting ducks as you were in January 2019, phoning us (to ask what you should do). No, this time no. Use any means at your disposal to defend yourselves.
Organisers of the protests have emphasised over and over again that the protests will be peaceful, but the government and the ruling party have remained adamant that the protests will be violent to the point of calling them anarchy and arresting those who are calling for them like Jacob Ngarivhume and Hopewell Chin’ono on charges of inciting public violence.