SECURITY forces maintained a heavy presence around the country yesterday, amid talk of more protests by the opposition and pro-democracy groups.
This comes as Zimbabwe is under a dusk-to-dawn curfew that was imposed by authorities to combat the spread of the lethal coronavirus which is now running amok in the country.
Yesterday, police national spokesperson Paul Nyathi confirmed that security forces would remain on the roads as part of measures to enforce the rigid national coronavirus lockdown.
“Remember the country is under lockdown. So, they are enforcing lockdown measures,” Nyathi told the Daily News On Sunday.
As was the case on Friday, security forces mounted numerous roadblocks in many urban areas — turning away hordes of people who were trying to get into central business districts (CBDs).
This comes as the opposition and organisers of Friday’s failed mass action have warned that they will roll out more protests to force President Emmerson Mnangagwa out of power.
“The #amoeba (Mnangagwa) must know that the people will not stop or rest until he is gone. This will be a long bitter fight to the end. The way of truth will prevail. It always does.
“The #amoeba must find an exit strategy and create a soft landing for him and his plentiful progeny. It is time,” Biti wrote on Twitter.
On his part, expelled former Zanu PF youth leader Godfrey Tsenengamu said the heavy presence of security forces betrayed the “fear and panic” on the part of the government.
“They are not sure what is likely to happen next. Look at what happened yesterday (Friday). They have no idea what the citizens are planning.
“The authorities are afraid of unarmed civilians. But they can’t sustain this,” Tsenengamu told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday.
The heightened presence of security forces comes at a time when tensions are rising in the country, as ordinary people are growing increasingly restive over Zimbabwe’s deepening economic crisis.
Ahead of the planned July 31 protests, the government blamed the opposition and pro-democracy groups for trying to foment violence in the country.
Authorities also claimed that the protests were being funded by foreign governments hostile to Zimbabwe.
In the run-up to the protests, Mnangagwa also accused protest organisers of endangering citizens’ lives by exposing them to Covid-19.
“In view of Covid-19 pandemic, their planned July 31 demonstration is a threat to the safety and security of our people’s right to life.
“Emboldened and inspired by the upcoming Heroes Day and Defence Forces commemorations, Zanu PF — as the people’s party — will never stand by and allow our people to be put in harm’s way.
“We will equally defend our independence and sovereignty to the letter and not betray the fallen heroes and heroines who paid the supreme sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today,” Mnangagwa said last week during a Zanu PF politburo meeting in Harare.