Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change is accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of disseminating propaganda intended to mislead the international community about the violent protests that took place January 14-16 and the police and military reaction.
In a briefing paper, the government said the protests were organized by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and what it calls other local merchants of regime change.
The government also accused unnamed “foreign” hands in the organization, funding and execution of the protests.
Nkululeko Sibanda, spokesperson for opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, says the Mnangagwa government is spreading lies in an effort to buy favors from the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.
A spokesman for Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party says President Emmerson Mnangagwa’ s government is open to peaceful protests, but what happened on January 14 and 16 was not peaceful.
Instead, Simon Khaya Moyo says the so-called peaceful demonstrations were nothing but hooliganism.
“All I can tell you is that it was not a demonstration and it was not a protest, it was a very violent demonstration where shops were looted, where there were barricades on all roads leading into town and nobody could go to work, where a lot of people broke into shops and also where a lot of people were injured and even one policeman was killed. So, to say it was a peaceful protest I must say protests must have people who must carry placards putting across what they are complaining about … But there was no such thing.”
He denies opposition allegation that the government is disseminating false information about last month’s protests to gain international sympathy.
Non-governmental organizations say at least 12 people were gunned down by the Zimbabwe National Army and more than 1,000 arrested during and after the public protests last month. Indications are that some women were also raped by soldiers.