A senior official of the Zimbabwe Republic Police has threatened to crush any Egyptian-style protests by the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, further stressing the power-sharing government.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Clement Munoriyarwa, in charge of the province of Harare, told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation that Egyptian-style mass protests would not be tolerated.
"This is wishful thinking," he said. "The situation in Egypt will never be tolerated anywhere in Zimbabwe..We want to assure the nation that we are fully prepared for such violent activities and our officers are already on the ground to ensure peace and tranquility prevails in the country."
His statements were swiftly condemned by Co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone of the Tsvangirai MDC formation, who called them inflamatory.
"If he said that it is regrettable and I would like personally to have that statement investigated so that wecan establish on what basis he said that," Makone told VOA. She added: "It is a serious statement, it is highly political and it is inflamatory."
Hardliners in President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party have seized on remarks by Mr. Tsvangirai while at the recent World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland, to the effect that the people of Zimbabwe had the right to protest if they felt their rights were being infringed upon, contending that he was calling for street protests.
Violence has been escalating in the populous Harare suburb of Mbare and elsewhere in the capital and the surrounding region. Sources say some 60 families have fled their Mbare homes in the past 48 hours and been lodged in MDC safe houses following attacks by gangs of youths alleged to be under the control of ZANU-PF.
Confidential documents leaked to the press by human rights groups allege that ZANU-PF militants currently wreaking havoc around the country were trained at the Inkomo Army Barracks west of the capital beginning last November when the army started recruiting graduates of the National Youth Training Program turning out militia members.
Sources say the militia has launched "Operation Ngatizivanei," shona for “Lets get to know each other,” targeting known or suspected backers of Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC.
But Youth Minister Savior Kasukuwere, also ZAN-PF’s deputy youth secretary, told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that no youths are being trained at Inkomo Barracks.
Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka, maintained Friday that all was calm now in Mbare - contrary to most reports. Mandipaka denied allegations by the MDC and others that the police have been standing by while ZANU-PF militants rampaged.
Makone said reports of violence are cause for concern police inaction is deplorable.
Meanwhile Friday the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee established to monitor compliance with the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing promised to investigate the violence that has roiled Harare and the region in recent days.
Harare correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported on the JOMIC initiative.
Elsewhere political parties in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, agreed to form a multi-party liason committee to combat rising violence tied to the elections President Robert Mugabe has insisted should be held this year, Mzenzi Tshabangu reported.