AMH is an independent media house free from political ties or outside influence. We have four newspapers: The Zimbabwe Independent, a business weekly published every Friday, The Standard, a weekly published every Sunday, and Southern and NewsDay, our daily newspapers. Each has an online edition.

  • Marketing
  • Digital Marketing Manager: tmutambara@alphamedia.co.zw
  • Tel: (04) 771722/3
  • Online Advertising
  • Digital@alphamedia.co.zw
  • Web Development
  • jmanyenyere@alphamedia.co.zw

Govt panics over CCC protests

Senior officers at provincial and district levels have been placed on standby to swiftly react to attempts by the opposition to conduct street protests, police insiders told NewsDay yesterday.

POLICE and other security agents have been put on high alert across Zimbabwe ahead of expected opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) protests against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s election victory in August last year.

Senior officers at provincial and district levels have been placed on standby to swiftly react to attempts by the opposition to conduct street protests, police insiders told NewsDay yesterday.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told NewsDay in an interview yesterday that the police would descend on organisers of unsanctioned gatherings.

Nyathi said: “If anyone wants to do any form of gathering they should comply with the law of the country. The law is very clear, if anyone wants to do any form of gathering in this country they must ensure that they comply with the provisions of the law.”

Warning individuals or groups against using social media to make threats of violence, he said: “Anyone who issues threats, that is, any form of threats whether through social media or physically, the police will ensure that the law is maintained in the country.

“We have a constitutional mandate to maintain law and order in the country. If the police assess the situation and feel that there are certain issues that the public should be alerted on, the police will do so.”

In a statement on Tuesday this week, police described the political situation in the country as “peaceful and conducive for all socio-economic activities to take place” but warned “malcontents” who were inciting public violence on social media.

“Police are aware of efforts by certain individuals and groups to engage in nefarious social and economic destabilising activities through unsanctioned gatherings, economic sabotage and sending alarming messages to the public through social media and some activists,” Nyathi said.

“May I, therefore, reiterate and assure Zimbabweans that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is ready to deal with any malcontent and unruly elements bent on causing chaos, disorder and despondency among Zimbabweans in the year 2024.”

Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Wilbert Mandinde said the police threats were unnecessary.

“As it is at the moment, certainly people seem to be enjoying themselves coming from Christmas — the festive season — and they are busy preparing for back to work and school issues.

“But what we have to mention as the NGO Forum is the fact that the Constitution allows for the people to demonstrate. People have to comply with the law, the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (Mopa),” Mandinde said.

Police have since last year blocked several CCC gatherings, citing failure by the opposition party to adhere to Mopa provisions.

“Police should be patient and wait clearly for people to come in and the necessary applications for demonstrations, and it is our hope that once such applications are made police will react favourably by granting permission for such demonstrations,” Mandinde said.

CCC has accused the Zanu PF-led government of violating the public’s constitutional rights by banning political gatherings.

CCC spokesperson Gift Siziba told NewsDay in an interview yesterday that the party is planning to hold grassroots meetings across the country.

“We are rolling out our grassroots programmes and statutory meetings of the movement where we want to craft our agenda for 2024 and beyond,” he said.

“The programmes are starting this week. We are unstoppable. We are a constructional democratic party. We have the full constitutional rights to gather.”

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya described the police’s warning to the opposition as intimidation.

“It’s not surprising that the police can issue such a statement, especially after the gathering at the HICC by Winky D, who have been regarded an opposition figure,” Ngwenya said.

“If really they are acting on constitutionalism, did we see anyone who was arrested when Mnangagwa took over power in a coup in November 2017? This is a soft target on unarmed and a weak civilian. It’s a pre-emptive strike on the part of the police.”

Related Topics