Dark clouds hang over Zim

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his panicking ruling party — reeling from a humiliating High Court shellacking on Wednesday over the government’s illegal banning of mass action in Harare — are urging Zanu PF youths to go “pound for pound” with protesters, in a move seen as a declaration of war on dissenting voices.

Well-placed Zanu PF sources told the Daily News yesterday that the “problematic directive” was issued during the former liberation movement’s politburo meeting in Harare on Wednesday, and as opposition parties and pro-democracy groups — riding on the High Court ruling — said they would soon be rolling out more protests.

Worryingly too for many Zimbabweans, the order was made just days after sycophantic State media revealed that the country’s infamous paramilitary groups — derisively referred to as Green Bombers or Border Gezi militia, and in effect Zanu PF’s storm troopers — were also ready to descend on protesters.

One of the senior Zanu PF bigwigs who spoke to the Daily News confirmed that the ruling party’s militant youths had been given “carte blanche permission” to counter the proliferating demonstrations which threaten to end Mugabe and Zanu PF’s 36 years in power.

“The president has given the youths an open cheque to deal with protesters and if these opposition parties continue with their behaviour, it is now going to be pound for pound. Let them be warned,” the politburo member said.

Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo appeared to back the claim when he told journalists at the end of the politburo meeting that the ruling party had tasked its officials to come up with counter-strategies against demonstrations.

“... (Mugabe) stated the opposition had forged a coalition aided by some external forces which have become glaringly visible.

“The opposition has taken to violent protests supported by the western powers who provide financial aid.

“The president informed the politburo on the need for the party to evolve its own strategies to counter the violence being perpetrated by the opposition,” Chombo, who is also minister in charge of police, said.

On Wednesday, High Court Judge Priscillah Chigumba overturned a government ban on protests in Harare, ruling bravely that this was unconstitutional.

“The decision to issue it (the ban) has no factual basis on these papers which are before me as I have alluded. Having made a finding that Statutory Instrument 101A was made unprocedurally, we must determine its fate in terms of the relief sought … I declare that SI 101A of 2016 is invalid to the extent of its inconsistency with the Constitution,” she said.

The ban had itself come on the eve of a mega demonstration that had been planned by 18 opposition parties to press for much-needed electoral reforms ahead of Zimbabwe’s eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

A week earlier, the High Court had allowed the same 18 parties to hold their demonstration, which was ruthlessly crushed by law enforcement agents.

Mugabe had also made threats against the judiciary ahead of the ruling in a rant which was widely seen as trying to sway the Bench to his side in light of the growing protests which are permitted by the new Constitution.

Another senior Zanu PF official also told the Daily News yesterday that the party had resolved during Wednesday’s politburo meeting to unleash plain-clothes security details during demonstrations, to complement the youths in their counter-measures against protesters.

“The issue of security was discussed at length and we were also tasked to come up with strategies to counter the demonstrations. It was discussed that as the ruling party we must prove to opposition parties that we have the means to silence them,” the bigwig said.

Opposition parties and political analysts reacted with shock yesterday to the ruling party’s plan, saying this was “pure evil” which could even result in the needless loss of lives.

However, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu — whose party has been playing a prominent role in the anti-government protests — vowed that Zimbabweans would not be intimidated by Mugabe and Zanu PF’s “machinations”.

“Mugabe is inciting violence as he always does when he’s cornered. But we are not cowards. We don’t feel intimidated by those puerile threats of violence. We know our rights,” he said.

An analyst with Cape Town-based think-tank NKC, Gary van Staden, said a cornered Mugabe and Zanu PF were likely to react violently to the High Court’s Wednesday ruling.

“Mugabe is not likely to take kindly to the latest judicial intervention that overturned a clearly illegal police ban on protests and demonstrations in Harare.

“However brave the recent actions of the judiciary may be, they could hasten even more draconian responses from the Mugabe regime, including a state of emergency. That in turn may hasten the demise of the regime and also increase the potential for violence,” he said.

Kent University law lecturer Alex Magaisa also said the ruling party would react viciously, warning that Zanu PF could, among other things, suspend the Constitution and impose a state of emergency, or use brute force.

“Another, more likely strategy is to infiltrate peaceful citizens’ demonstrations and cause enough mayhem to justify banning future demonstrations and possibly deploy the military without necessarily declaring a State of Public Emergency,” Magaisa said.

Mugabe, in power since 1980 when Zimbabwe gained its independence from Britain, is facing the biggest challenge to his 36-year-rule which critics say has been catastrophic.

Zimbabwe is currently deep in the throes of a debilitating economic crisis which has given rise to waves of protests and riots by ordinary citizens who blame public sector corruption and the government’s policies for the current rot.

Since the economy began experiencing serious turbulence, including witnessing banks running out of cash, this has put the government under growing pressure as angry Zimbabweans have mounted seemingly unending demonstrations.

    Comments (19)

    zanu irkuda zvehondo chete. Opposition parties stay calm and keep pushing for reforms in peace. Vanoda kukonzeresa Hondo inoparadza vana vedu vavo vari mhiri kwemakungwa.

    Tari - 9 September 2016

    The way forward is for opposition forces to have their own marshals in future demonstrations since Zanu PF is likely going to infiltrate the demos.Without this Mugabe will always find fault to quell the demos as well as advocate for their extinction.

    Democrat - 9 September 2016

    Zanu PF will use police disguised as youth militia, while implanting rouges in the demos to cause chaos and then cry fowl to the world. This is very irresponsible position taken by a people with no shame to declare civil war amoungst its citizens. The youth militia have no legal standing in law enforcement and should be arrested if they disturb other people's peaceful demos.

    MR COOPER - 9 September 2016

    Fuck Mugabe and his family always!

    fmugabebitch - 9 September 2016

    Zanu pf government have been getting away with murder all along.Intimidating , beating and killing people at will. This time it won't work. People will fight back. 73% plus let the game begin.

    X-MAN IV - 9 September 2016

    Knowledge is power. Now that we know what Mugabe and his regime plans to do, any demonstrations in future must evolve on Zimbabweans shutting down the country completely by staying at home to counter Mugabe's strategy. This should be organised spontaneously and announced to deceive the regime from setting it's shock troopers unto masses. For example, urging people not to go to work in the early hours of the planned day at cell level and using PA systems and social media.

    Ziziharinanyanga - 9 September 2016

    You have a very good strategy Ziziharinanyanga. Adding to that, organisers will need to be positioned in different locations of towns. At greed time on the planned day they go round in their own command areas urging people to stay in their homes. It will be very difficult for those Green bombers to respond on time and before the message is delivered. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

    Strategist - 9 September 2016

    Mmmm Syria started deadly civil war exactly as this. Look at whats left in there! Scary

    Chibaba - 9 September 2016

    Pound for pound for sure, and dark clouds will hang over Zimbabwe until Cecil John Rhodes goes back to England. This is Zimbabwe not Rhodes' resting place.

    ADF - 9 September 2016

    Now we know that the Mugabe regime has come to an end. There will be no Syria kind of war in this country. No one will sustain a fight for Mugabe. If he illegally deploys armed ununiformed soldiers as terrorists to fight against civilians, then that will be his end.

    Magoronganye - 9 September 2016

    If Mugabe tries any funny gams, he will go the way of brother Gadaffi. acahavanda mubridge very fast. tomumuvhovhonyora umomo.

    Donato mufi - 10 September 2016

    Shut up ADF you scumbag.

    Bee - 10 September 2016

    Its lyk w a livn in hell... lets pray to god for rescue

    mkanya - 10 September 2016

    Its lyk w a livn in hell... lets pray to God for rescue

    mkanya - 10 September 2016

    Since 1980.....that black cloud was still hovering .....i believe Mr Joshua Nkomo was the right man to lead Zimbabwe.....

    silungisani ndlovu - 10 September 2016

    its time mugabe goes kwa zvimba and enjoy the few weeks left. iye grace haasi kunyara here kana achiramba achiti chembere yava kuzviitira kudai ingoramba ichingopingirisana ne vaduku. gushungo penyu makaita chizororai muchiri panyika because magumo haana kunaka. youth yamunotemba nayo vana vedu ivava manje manje vachaku rasai imi maparara kudai mozoitei? you wont stop a revolution kana mukadii gushungo. asi nekukura kwenyu makanganwa kuti chimurenga was equally unstoppable ndokusaka muri panyanga since 1980. ndofunga mapabata ipapa.

    wezip - 15 September 2016

    goodbye robert. the end is here and history has been written already. go well matibili wa shungurudza mhuri ye dzimbabwe. jona anozviziva izvozvo futi nokuti tinonwa tose.

    wezip - 15 September 2016

    its time mugabe goes kwa zvimba and enjoy the few weeks left. iye grace haasi kunyara here kana achiramba achiti chembere yava kuzviitira kudai ingoramba ichingopingirisana ne vaduku. gushungo penyu makaita chizororai muchiri panyika because magumo haana kunaka. youth yamunotemba nayo vana vedu ivava manje manje vachaku rasai imi maparara kudai mozoitei? you wont stop a revolution kana mukadii gushungo. asi nekukura kwenyu makanganwa kuti chimurenga was equally unstoppable ndokusaka muri panyanga since 1980. ndofunga mapabata ipapa.

    wezip - 15 September 2016

    kana zvadai ndinoti cherechedzai kunze mugovhara musuwo

    tutsi - 15 September 2016

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