Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF issues warning to opposition leaders ahead of planned protest

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change party leader Nelson Chamisa.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change party leader Nelson Chamisa.
Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

MDC Alliance leaders should not be “cowards”, Zanu-PF has declared.

So says Zanu-PF acting secretary for information Patrick Chinamasa ahead of a planned July 31 mass uprising by the disgruntled opposition, workers' unions and civic society in Zimbabwe.

“We send this warning loud and clear. So please send out that warning to Chamisa that he should not be the coward that he has been, let him come in front and we will face him,” Chinamasa said, referring to MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.

“We remain vigilant against the machinations of the enemy and they have been very intensified in recent weeks. Zanu-PF sleeps with one eye open,” he said.

Chinamasa placed the blame of two dark public violence episodes under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rule — August 1, 2018, and January 2019 riots — on the opposition. Since August 2018, at least 20 people have died in clashes with the army and police.

Zimbabwe’s deputy minister of defence and war veterans, Victor Matemamatanda, alleged that foreign embassies stationed in Harare are funding the mass protests and there’s a US$300,000 war chest for logistics.

Despite the country being in an eased Covid-19 lockdown, Mnangagwa said he would tighten lockdown measures in Bulawayo and Harare. Critics say the reason behind this decision is to foil the July 31 planned protests.

With public rallies banned under the Covid-19 lockdown, Chamisa took his rally online, calling on all Zimbabweans to join in the “anti-looting and corruption” demonstration.

“Zimbabwe is paying a legitimacy price, a legitimacy cost, a legitimacy burden. Some say we have an economic problem. No, our problem is that of governance. This year action and protest is inevitable,” he said.

Deputy chief secretary to the president George Charamba accused workers' unions of working with the opposition by trying to “whip up emotions” instead of engaging the government on salary negotiations. For a month now, health workers have been on strike and have vowed not to return to work under poor conditions and remuneration.

To appease the security sector, soldiers and the police last week received ZW$8,000 Covid-19 allowances while teachers and health workers got ZW$1,200 (US$10 on the black market) each.

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