By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba has bragged that demonstrations will “never” happen in Zimbabwe because “all the evil they plan is in the full glare of the watchful State. It can’t happen, it’s not going to happen and it will never happen.”
On Monday the police and soldiers tightened lockdown restrictions in the capital Harare, blocking many cars and buses from entering the central business district.
Many people were shocked because level two meant that business would be allowed to open.
On Tuesday, business came to a standstill in Bulawayo after police supported by the army drove people out of the city centre in an early morning operation.
Few believed it was Covid-19 related enforcement of lockdown in the second largest City of Zimbabwe but many suspected it was a clearing of the way for the MDC faction led by Thokozani Khupe to wrest the opposition provincial offices from their rival camp led by Nelson Chamisa.
On Wednesday, Kwekwe was in blockade as the presence of police and soldiers was heavy.
Charamba said the State decided on an enhanced lockdown last week acting on the basis of information and threats which civilians “never know beforehand, (and) will never know unless informed.”
He added that it was “prudent” to inform the nation about the threats to avoid inconveniencing the public, but “quite often, it isn’t.”
“Those who had planned mischief to coincide with the June 16 Day of the African Child, in the hope of misappropriating it for own ends, know why what happened did.
“More important, they should know all the evil they plan is in the full glare of the watchful State. It can’t happen, it’s not going to happen and it will never happen,” Charamba said.
This comes at a time when the public is agitated and disgruntled that a year after Zimbabwe ended a decade of dollarisation and reintroduced the Zimbabwe dollar, the local currency has tumbled on the black market, fuelling price increases and pushing inflation to 800 percent.
When Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe in 2017, he promised to revive the economy, but life has become harder as people grapple with acute shortages of foreign currency, medicines and food, and unemployment above 80 percent.
Charamba threatened the opposition party saying Zimbabweans should, “keep within the four corners of the law and follow tenets of lawful, peaceful opposition, your days on this earth as opposition will be added.”
Mnangagwa who grabbed power from late former president Robert Mugabe through a military coup, has been accused home and abroad, of using the military and police to silence dissenting voices.
It also comes at a time when main opposition MDC Alliance officials are persecuted by alleged state security agents.
On Wednesday, MDC Alliance Youth Assembly National spokesperson Stephen Sarkozy Chuma was arrested by Law and Order Police in connection with a Harare demonstration that resulted in the abduction of the opposition officials Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova and legisilstor Joana Mamombe by alleged state security agents.
Meanwhile, its being claimed Mnangagwa’s regime is afraid of a possible citizens’ demonstration hence the blockading of major cities in the country. Nehanda Radio