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Opposition, Zanu-PF showdown over demo in front of SADC heads looms

By Agencies

ZANU PF Director for Information Farai Marapira has sent out a chilling warning to opposition political parties planning protests during August’s SADC Summit, saying they are ready to deal with them decidedly.

Posting on X, Marapira said they were prepared for any activity that would threaten their political system before or during the summit which is to be held in Harare.

The Summit will see President Emmerson Mnangagwa taking over leadership of the regional bloc, a position handed on a rotational basis amongst the 16 member states.

Marapira’s comment was accompanied by a list of what he said were false cases of state-sponsored abuse, publicised by opposition actors before major international summits in the past.

It followed a similar warning by Mnangagwa last week despite Section 59 of the Zimbabwean Constitution giving citizens the right to peaceful protests.

“I am aware of certain rogue elements within the nation who are bent on peddling falsehoods and instigating acts of civil disorder, especially before during and after regional and world stage events,” Mnangagwa told the party’s Central Committee

77 youths and a senior member of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Jameson Timba are currently locked up in remand prison for having convened a meeting at his Harare residency.

The State argues they were planning Kenyan-style protests. In Kenya youths upturned Parliament and rendered the country ungovernable in protest to a Finance Bill which President William Ruto wanted to sign into law.

The Bill sought to add onto a bucket full of taxes Kenyans are already burdened with.

Youths now want Ruto to step down, accusing him of maladministration.

Fears that similar acts could be witnessed have seen the state ordering its Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and ZRP’s Law and Order division to trail “persons of interest” according to sources at both security departments.

Fears abound, that such protests could play into ongoing factional fights within Zanu PF that could cut short Mnangagwa’s second term in office if not nipped in the bud.

“Opposition political parties have been at the forefront of tarnishing Zimbabwe’s image through theatrics and unfounded claims of torture, abduction, and forced disappearances,” said Marapira.

“There is a clear correlation between notable events and these nefarious opposition activities.

“Why else would they continue playing the same old broken record as we have seen in the past few days under the auspices of Ostallos (Siziba) et al? As ZANUPF, we are tried and tested.

“We are ready to deal with any subversiveness…decidedly. We are waiting for the signal.”

Some members of the National Democratic Working Group (NDWG), an institution linked to once militant opposition figure Job Sikhala were also picked up last week on charges similar to those being faced by Timba and his 77 colleagues.

Mnangagwa’s human rights record has worried local and international actors, with most Western countries which he had targeted for re-engagement preferring to keep him at arm’s length.

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