ZRP increases surveillance in Zim …. as MDC-A and ZANU PF head for a showdown

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File Image: Police form a barricade outside Bronte Hotel in August 2018.

By Farayi Machamire

ZIMBABWE is on a knife edge after security services increased surveillance and patrols in the country’s capital to combat the presence of a possible  “ third force” hell-bent on destroying property during Thursday’s MDC Alliance demonstration.

ZRP has revealed that they gathered intelligence that there were some elements who had planned to destabilise the peace and tranquility during the sanctioned demo.

This comes as the opposition called on uniformed forces and long suffering Zimbabweans to rally in the capital against skyrocketing cost of basic goods, payment of medicines in elusive foreign currency, shortages of fuel and a plethora of problems facing the southern African nation.

This will be the first time protestors take to the streets since the August 1 shootings that led to the death of six citizens as tensions over a comatose economy continue to put authorities on edge.

At the same time, Zanu PF youth have threatened to also take to the streets in a clean-up campaign on the same day as the opposition’s planned demonstration in what observers say is a counter attraction that will only serve as a stage for violent clashes.

The ruling party’s youth wing has also insisted that it will not hesitate to take the law into their own hands in defence of the party’s property from opposition supporters whom they termed “thugs” and “hoodlums.”

In the midst of the hate speech and high emotions, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) today moved to okay tomorrow’s demonstration.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said while they had sanctioned the demonstration opposition leaders would be held accountable for any disruptions.

“Intelligence at hand indicates that some elements are planning to cause violence, disrupt the smooth flow and the peaceful environment in Harare Central Business District,” Charamba said.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is on high alert monitoring the situation to ensure all those who will cause violence are dealt with according to the law. The information has already been communicated to the conveners. Law enforcement agents will not hesitate to arrest anyone found violating the law.

“The conveners of the demonstrations will be held accountable for any disruptions, destruction to property and ensuing violence in the CBD.  The ZRP is appealing to all those who intend to participate in the demonstration to observe peace and maintain law and order.”

At a hastily arranged press conference in Harare on Wednesday, MDC Alliance spokesperson Jacob Mafume said the MDC Alliance had “received the necessary clearance from the police.”

“We have notified the police,” Mafume said adding that the MDC Alliance had a solution contained in a five point plan whose focal point was restoration to legitimacy.

“As you aware the Constitution does not require for clearance. The Constitution simply states that we have a right to demonstrate, then you give notice to the police. This was elaborated by the judgement by Justice Makarau. We notified the police seven days ago. We have agreed with them the route as per custom. We have agreed with them the need for their protection.”

He said the MDC Alliance was unperturbed by Zanu PF youth league’s counter clean-up campaign which has been penciled for 7am at Africa Unity Square.

“The demonstration is a people’s demonstration that will include, civil servants, vendors, farmers and students,” Mafume said.

“It is indeed not only an MDC demonstration but a people’s demonstration. We are seized with bread and butter issues, the taxes that have been put, various excises duties, shortages of fuel, shortages of money, the bond note has failed. We have issues around pharmacies, the use of US dollar to buy drugs. As such the party leadership has decided it’s not necessary have regalia at this juncture,” he said insisting supporters may wear white.

File Image: Police form a barricade outside Bronte Hotel in August 2018.
File Image: Police form a barricade outside Bronte Hotel in August 2018.