Home Affairs vows ‘soldiers will deal with July 31 protesters’

HOME Affairs Deputy Minister and Zanu PF Manicaland chairman – Mike Madiro – says Zimbabwe national army will be deployed to thwart July 31 protesters.

Madiro said the army was ready to dominate the streets and “will not allow people to interfere with our sovereignty.”

The opposition and pro-democracy organisations are mobilising for a nationwide protest on July 31 to force President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government to act on the country‘s deepening economic crisis.

The deployment of soldiers and run-ins with unarmed protesters has previously set back Mnangagwa’s efforts to shed Zimbabwe’s pariah status after decades of repression under Robert Mugabe.

Government has accused organisers of the July 31 demonstrations of being irresponsible as the protests would breach coronavirus lockdown regulations which prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people.

Transform Zimbabwe president and organiser of the July 31 demonstration Jacob Ngarivhume was arrested Monday morning.

He was still to be charged at the time of publishing. Freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was also arrested on Monday

Madiro told delegates at Zanu PF’s Provincial Coordination Committee meeting held in Mutare on Saturday, that the country’s security forces will not stand by and watch

“We hear that on 31 July there are some people who want to topple the
government. Those people spearheading the demonstration have an agenda and we know that they are at work. They are looking for money,”
Madiro said.

“We should not panic over such small issues, because we have our
security forces. We have the soldiers of the people who are ready to
defend. Let me remind those organising the demonstrations that we will never allow such people to be above our heads,”
Madiro said.

“Our security forces, the soldiers and police have been tried and
tested professionals who have been seconded to do international duty
on peace keeping missions. So they can do that here as well.

Zimbabwe is a sovereign state. Our soldiers will not allow people to interfere with our sovereignty and they are ready to defend it,” Madiro said.

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has backed Ngarivhume saying “we will support all democratic forces, all progressive forces shall be supported.”

Other activist groups including the Front for Economic Emancipation in Zimbabwe (FEEZ), an anti-corruption pressure group led by expelled Zanu PF youth league leader Godfrey Tsenengamu has pledged its support to Ngarivhume’s call for peaceful protests.

“We are calling for unity among Zimbabweans to fight the scourge of
corruption among the country’s political elite, which has resulted in
the misappropriation of billions of US dollars over the past few
years.

This, therefore, we are redirecting all progressive citizens
and stakeholders towards the 31st July as announced by fellow citizen,
esteemed brother and leader Mr Jacob Ngarivhume,”
said Tsenengamu.