SENIOR STAFF WRITER
AS POLITICAL tensions in the country continue to rise ahead of Friday’s planned protests, analysts have warned the organisers of the demonstrations to take Zanu PF’s warnings about the mass actions seriously, the Daily News reports.
“It will be foolish for anyone to ignore Zanu PF’s threats. They are not idle threats. They should be taken with seriousness, and they should be taken as a matter of life and death.“Those threats are well backed. You need to be a risk taker to ignore them. They are real,” respected University of Zimbabwe academic, Eldred Masunungure, said.“However, the message has been successfully sent to Zanu PF, even though they will refute the fact that the message on corruption has sunk into their minds.“Secondly, re-engagement with Western powers is dead in the water for now … because re-engagement is a lower priority to Zanu PF than maintaining power,” he added.
“There will be rights abuses, torture, injuries and even death, as has been the case with previous protests,” Saungweme said.
On the other hand, Human Rights Watch director for Southern Africa Dewa Mavhinga said the statement made by Zanu PF’s acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa on Monday showed that the ruling party was panicking.“His baseless verbal attacks on the US Embassy and its Ambassador Brian Nichols could be the final nail in Zimbabwe’s dead international re-engagement process.“It is back to the old days of Zimbabwe as a rogue state that is shunned by progressive members of the international community.
“Whatever hope that existed for a better Zimbabwe after (the death of Robert) Mugabe is now sadly gone. There is likely to be bloodshed,” Mavhinga said.
“In as far as it is illegal and unconstitutional, we wish to state that your invitation to our leaders to attend to your interviews is in the same manner as your future illegal directives hereby defied,” Gumbo said in a letter addressed to police spokesperson Paul Nyathi.“We wish to state that we categorically object to your unwarranted behaviour in publishing or causing to be published the above stated names on the national broadcaster and various social media platforms as criminals.“All of our leaders appearing on your list have attended to Law and Order on several occasions and your organisation has their contact details, including their defence counsels.“In no certain terms, we wish to state that this behaviour makes your police force complicit to tyranny … Your behaviour in this regard is thus illegal, unconstitutional and abrogable,” Gumbo added.
“They must know that in those circumstances, their first line of defence is themselves and their families,” Chinamasa bellowed.
“They have a legal and constitutional right to defend themselves, their families, spouses, children, property and possessions.
“Don’t ask for permission from anybody, it’s your constitutional and legal right. Don’t be intimidated by hooligans and mercenaries.
“Don’t be like sitting ducks as you were in August 2018 and January 2019 phoning us. No, this time use any means at your disposal to defend yourselves and we are saying this unambiguously,” Chinamasa added.“We are reminding our people that self-defence is right, especially when your security is under threat from these violent protestors,” he said further.
“If he (Nichols) continues to engage in acts of undermining this republic, mobilising and funding disturbances, co-ordinating violence and training insurgents, our leadership will not hesitate to give him marching orders.“Diplomats should not behave like thugs. Brian Nichols is a thug. Zanu PF reminds Nichols that he is not a super diplomat in this country,” Chinamasa thundered.
“They have never masqueraded and pretended to be our prefects as … Nichols is doing. Zimbabwe is not one of the states or provinces that make up the USA.
“We fought for this country to preserve it and protect it, not to surrender it to those from whom we tirelessly fought. Never in our lifetime,” Chinamasa said further.
All this comes as there are growing fears that the planned July 31 protests could turn bloody after several threats from both authorities and Zanu PF.