Government has warned opposition parties and their appendages in the civil society against holding unsanctioned demonstrations that often turn violent saying the police would crack down on such malcontents. Addressing the media in Harare yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said conveners of illegal demonstrations would face the full wrath of the law.Minister Chombo was flanked by Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi and Deputy Home Affairs Minister Obedingwa Mguni.
The minister condemned the violent protests that were organised by MDC-T and its affiliate civic organisations and sponsored by Western forces in Harare on Wednesday that resulted in shops being looted, vehicles and a police post being burnt.
“In light of these disturbances, I wish to remind Zimbabweans that the security ministries are mandated to maintain law and order and to protect life and property,” said Minister Chombo.
“Yesterday’s mayhem and chaos in the Harare central business district disrupted business, disrupted free movement of people, destroyed property and this is a gross violation of people’s democratic rights as enshrined in the nation’s Constitution.
“The burning that took place yesterday was premeditated. Those who organised it will be made to account. As law enforcement agents of this country, we will not be found wanting in defending the democratic rights of the Zimbabwean people. We will not tolerate any attempts, by any group of persons, political parties, civic organisations or individuals whose actions will undermine the peace and quiet that Zimbabwe enjoys today.”
Minister Chombo said malcontents who were bent on changing a democratically elected Government would face the full wrath of the law.
He said Government was aware that the demonstrations were meant to court international intervention in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs, something Government would not allow.
“We can not sit idly while our country is being torn apart by unruly foreign-sponsored agents.
“We want to reassure the nation that peace and tranquillity will be maintained at all times. People should proceed with their business as usual. Security will be guaranteed,” said Minister Chombo.
Fielding questions from journalists, Minister Chombo defended police interventions in stopping illegal and violent demonstrations saying, in fact, they had exercised restraint with some of the protestors despite obvious provocation.
He said the police would stop any unsanctioned demonstrations while slamming MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and expelled Zanu-PF minister and now Zimbabwe People First functionary Mr Didymus Mutasa for calling for illegal protests.
“We have a moral duty to protect citizens of this country. We have a moral duty to protect people that do business in the CBD area so that they are not unnecessarily disrupted by these malcontents that were running around the city yesterday (Wednesday).
“Tsvangirai and his henchman Mutasa, they don’t seek permission from me. They seek permission from the respective officer commanding the district. If he/she says no, then they will not march. If they elect to march unlawfully, then they are breaking the law. The police are there to protect citizens against law breakers,” said Minister Chombo. A