Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF party says it will deploy its youth in the country’s streets to assist the police to crush any future anti-government protests but the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai was quick to warn President Mugabe to respect the constitution.
In recent days, the opposition has escalated protests demanding President Robert Mugabe’s immediate resignation for failing to run the affairs of the southern African country.
Deputy secretary of the Zanu PF Youth League, Kudzai Chipanga, told hundreds of youths at his party’s headquarters that they would not allow the MDC and other pro-democracy groups to stage any protests saying only Zanu PF should be allowed to do what it wants at any time.
“Now they are beating up the police, they are looting in shops and destroying valuable property. We are the ruling party and we can’t allow them to continue to do that nonsense. As the youth, be ready to deal with them when they call for protests, next time they call for any demonstration we will also be in the streets to help the police to arrest them.
“You must therefore sleep with your cellphones under your pillows so that when you are called by the commissar you are in town quickly. The law provides for citizen arrests so don’t be afraid to deal with these malcontents. While they will be complaining about the situation in the country, we will taking all white-owned farms and distributing them among ourselves so that we can grow our crops and get some residential stands,” said Chipanga.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said his party was appalled by the Zanu PF youth leader’s remarks saying Zanu PF youth were turning themselves “into a militia”.
“By taking over, abrogating or arrogating themselves the constitutional duties of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Zanu PF youths would have turned themselves into a militia and they should be arrested for impersonating police officers which is a criminal offence,” said Gutu.
Gutu warned that the political situation in Zimbabwe may result in a civil war if action was not taken urgently.
“We implore the African Union and SADC (Southern African Development Community) to deal with this matter very quickly because the police are using brutal force against defenseless citizens and the SADC leaders should reign in Mugabe at their next summit in Mbabane, Swaziland,” added Gutu.
Efforts to get a comment from Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo were fruitless as he was not answering his mobile phone.
The youth had earlier gathered in Harare’s central business district to “clean up the mess” that was left by the anti-government demonstrators who used stones and other missiles to attack police officers who were teargassing and assaulting them during the anti-government protests.
However, the youth who were numbering about only 500, were asked to shelve their plans by Chipanga as he feared they could turn violent.