The Zimbabwean government has reacted angrily to opposition parties and non-governmental organizations’ planned July 31st public protest over the deteriorating economic situation, corruption and alleged Zanu PF misrule.
The government says the protest, dubbed #ZanuPFMustGo, is an attempt to unconstitutionally remove President Emmerson Mnangagwa from office.
In a several tweets, Information Secretary Nick Mangwana, said, “… It’s not about corruption. It’s an unconstitutional plan to seize power and give it to the unelected.”
Another tweet reads, “If there was no #Covid19 catastrophe nobody would have a problem with an Anticorruption March. But to try to overthrow a constitutional order and replace it with an unelected monster is not democracy. It's lawlessness. Democracy does not work that way. Focus on #Covid19Zim.”
The Zimbabwean government says there are now more than 1,000 people that have contracted COVID-19 in the country and as a result, there is need to tighten Coronavirus regulations.
Indications are that the government is planning to tighten the COVID-19 lockdown before the July 31st protest.
Mangwana claims that the planned protest is being led by outsiders with a regime-change agenda.
“The greatest lesson, however, are the desperate lengths opposition parties and their handlers are prepared to go in pursuit of their illegal regime change agenda to the point of exposing innocent Zimbabweans to the deadly Covid-19 … The Signal which President ED Mnangagwa has given to this Nation is that we need to reform. Not reform because someone is pushing us to. Not to reform as a sign of capitulation. Reform because it's in our best interests. But it's not a sign of weakness.”
In an editorial, the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper also claimed that the planned protest is being led by outsiders.
The editorial reads in part, “…the opposition and NGOs parties working in cahoots with some Western countries want to use their planned July 31 illegal demonstrations as an attempt to overthrow the Government. With cases of Covid-19 spiraling in the country, the opposition parties and their acolytes want to put the people into unnecessary risk by involving them in an illegal activity that could see more people infected with Covid-19.
“That the planned demos, like many others behind them, will fail, is not in doubt as Zimbabwe is a democracy where leaders are installed through elections and not sponsored acts of violence and chaos. Besides, the relevant arms of the law stand ready to carry out their mandate in the defence of the people and maintaining law and order.”
Opponents say the government is panicking over the planned protest amid concerns that state security agents are currently allegedly attempting to abduct some NGO and opposition leaders ahead of the protest.
The government has distanced itself from the abductions.
Several people were gunned down by state security forces during public protests over delayed presidential elections results in 2018 and steep fuel price increases in 2019.