Gvt Claims Alternative Transport & Security Will Be In Place To Counter Protests

Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo addresses the media while flanked by State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi (left), Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi (third from left) and Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Chris Mushohwe in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Munyaradzi Chamalimba)

Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo addresses the media while flanked by State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi (left), Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi (third from left) and Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Chris Mushohwe in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Munyaradzi Chamalimba)

The Government has made provisions for adequate alternative transport for commuters and assured transport operators and businesspeople that the police have been heavily deployed countrywide to provide them with adequate security, as fifth columnists continue meddling in the country’s internalaffairs by sponsoring violent protests.

Addressing journalists yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said it had come to Government’s attention that the western-sponsored regime change agenda had intensified as evidenced by the involvement of some hostile foreign embassies in the recent unsuccessful attempts to bring the country to a standstill.

“It’s in this context that foreign elements are being warned against interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal issues. We therefore remind these elements that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state, whose decisions are made internally by Zimbabweans.

“It’s common knowledge that social media is awash with messages of intentions to destabilise the country through violent protests. We’re fully aware of the activities of politically affiliated organisations and individuals, who are inciting the nation through misrepresenting facts and falsifying information,” he said.

Dr Chombo’s sentiments also come after the European Union Delegation in Zimbabwe yesterday issued a statement in support of the planned protests.

The minister said the Government accepts that Zimbabweans have a legitimate right to present petitions and that these rights must be exercised peacefully as enshrined in Section 59 of the Constitution.

Dr Chombo said legitimate concerns should be addressed through legitimate means, and not through violent protests which may infringe on other people’s rights.

Section 58(2) of the Constitution that deals with freedom of assembly and association, however, says no person may be compelled to belong to an association or to attend a meeting or gathering.

“It should be understood that some policies are meant to address particular challenges and may not be permanent, and that policy making is an ongoing process where decisions are made to suit the prevailing situations.

“The ZRP, whose mandate is to protect life and property under section 219 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, will be out in full force to deal with any disturbances that may arise and protect the same. I assure commuter operators, businesses and places of work that they will be given full protection. Arrangements have been made for the provision of additional transport for commuters,” Dr Chombo said.

He urged members of the public to desist from engaging in illegal protests that anti-government elements have tried to use as a strategy to undermine a legitimate government.

Dr Chombo also urged the media to report objectively and avoid fuelling violence.

“To all Zimbabweans, I’m urging you to remain vigilant and not to be passive recipients of information which is meant to persuade, brainwash, mislead or incite you to resorting to unlawful actions,” he said.

He said the situation prevailing in the country was peaceful although there were individuals and groups that were calling for a repeat of events that unfolded last week.

“Let me warn the instigators behind the intended protests that they will face the full wrath of the law,” Dr Chombo said.

He said notable incidences of violence were in Beitbridge, Mabvuku and Epworth.

“On behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe, I would like to thank all peace loving Zimbabweans for refusing to take part in last week’s foreign sponsored protests. Those violent protests are counterproductive, as they may result in loss of lives and destruction of property,” Dr Chombo said.

The press conference was attended by State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi, Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Dr Christopher Mushohwe and Home Affairs Deputy Minister Obedingwa Mguni.

Meanwhile, Evan Mawarire of the shadowy #ThisFlag campaign yesterday handed himself over to the police who were looking for him for inciting violence following the abortive July 6 “shutdown Zimbabwe” campaign.

“He handed himself over to the police this (yesterday) morning and investigation are still in progress,” Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed.

Sources close to investigations yesterday said Mawarire, who was said to have been on the run since last week, surrendered himself to the police at around 9AM in the company of his lawyers.

Although the details were still sketchy by last night, our Harare Bureau understands that he is likely to be charged on allegations of inciting violence.

Bulawayo East legislator Ms Tabitha Khumalo was summoned to Bulawayo Central Police Station in connection with last week’s demonstrations.

Ms Khumalo was detained at Bulawayo Central Police Station for more than two hours.

The legislator, who is also the deputy spokesperson for MDC-T Bulawayo province, was accompanied by her lawyer Mr Lizwe Jamela.

Mr Jamela confirmed the incident yesterday, saying the police officers said they were not accusing Ms Khumalo of anything but wished to discuss a few issues regarding the demonstration.

He said he was not allowed to be part of the discussions.

“She was summoned for questioning. The police officers said they were not arresting her or investigating her but wanted to find out if she was involved in last week’s demonstrations.

“She was, however, not involved in the demonstrations and had nothing to do with them, which she told the police,” said Mr Jamela.

Ms Khumalo, Mr Jamela added, was doing her usual work as a public officer during demonstrations.

“As the Government advised members of the public not to heed the call for a stay away, she was on duty as usual as a public officer.

“As there were no curfews or limitations in terms of movement, she moved around doing her constituency work,” said Mr Jamela.

The much-hyped July 6 “shutdown Zimbabwe” which was engineered by a group of anti-Government activists with the aid of US and French embassies was a monumental failure, contrary to privately-owned press and Western propaganda that the stayaway was huge success.

United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Harry Thomas and his French counterpart, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse, are accused of having a hand in last week’s disturbances in Harare and Bulawayo.

According to the Government, the two were using social media to fuel civil disobedience and ultimately destabilise Zimbabwe. A group led by former MDC-T youth leader Promise Mkhwananzi — Tajamuka/Sesijikile — has been calling for civil disturbances through social media..Freeman Razemba/Reason Razao source-chronicle.


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