Harare – Zimbabwean opposition parties have reportedly expressed concern that President Robert Mugabe could soon declare state of emergency in a bid to stop increasing violent protests.
According to NewsDay, Mugabe’s spokesperson, who is thought to be behind a shadowy state media columnists, Nathaniel Manheru, suggested in a piece published in state media over the weekend that Mugabe could throw away the Constitution and declare a state of emergency to deal with the continued protests.
This came following violent scenes that rocked the centre of Harare, as police fought running battles with opposition supporters who had tried to push ahead with a court-sanctioned march for electoral reforms.
The march was organised by 18 opposition parties, including the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the Zimbabwe People First, formed this year by former vice president Joice Mujuru.
‘Anarchy disguised as democracy’
Social unrest is intensifying, with near-daily protests in the southern African country where cash shortages and a lack of jobs are making life difficult for many.
“The line has been crossed. From now onwards, it shall be another country. This caring world can go hang. We have a country to protect. And govern. After all, we have hit the bottom. We can’t fall,” Manheru wrote.
He urged President Robert Mugabe to ruthlessly and decisively crush protests in the same manner Syrian President Bashar Hafez al Assad moved to suppress dissent in his country.
“Assad moved in decisively to crush it . . . Assad may have lost peace, lost development, but saved a country . . . and don’t waste time to decide is to govern, unless you want to capitulate anarchy disguised as democracy,” he wrote.
Violent and brutal clampdown
The spokesperson for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Obert Gutu, however, said Manheru’s threats were an indication that Mugabe’s government wanted to “trash” the Constitution in an endeavor to suppress human rights.
“The MDC-T is acutely aware of the fact that the Zanu-PF regime is keen on declaring a state of emergency in Zimbabwe so that they can unleash a violent and brutal clampdown on the activities of opposition political parties. In this respect, therefore, we take Manheru’s threats very seriously,” Gutu was quoted as saying.
Mugabe himself on Friday warned opposition supporters against trying to stage “an Arab spring”. The nonagenarian said this as he left the country for the 6th Tokyo Conference on African Development.
He accused the opposition of embarking on a “path of violence” but vowed that Arab Spring would not happen in Zimbabwe.