Government will not condone or tolerate any acts of violence, intimidation and incitement to commit lawlessness in the country during the election period and has activated all security institutions to be on high alert.
The MDC Alliance led by Mr Nelson Chamisa has been threatening violence at rallies if he loses harmonised elections set for Monday next week.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga yesterday afternoon warned Mr Chamisa against causing anarchy in the country, saying he should desist from student activism type of politics and focus on ensuring that the July 30 elections were conducted in a peaceful environment.
Addressing a press conference in Harare last night, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Dr Obert Mpofu said Government had a duty to maintain law and order and ensure that there was peace and security.
“The Government of Zimbabwe wishes to advise the nation and foreign visitors alike that the security situation in the country remains calm and peaceful,” he said.
“However, as Government we are deeply concerned with threats of violence, intimidation and use of hate speech that has been steeped up by some political parties, who have openly declared that they will shut down Zimbabwe and make it ungovernable.
“As the Minister of Home Affairs, let me categorically state that we will not allow or condone or tolerate any acts of violence, intimidation and incitement to commit lawlessness in the country.”
Minister Mpofu said Government took exception to such conduct meant to derail the peace prevailing in the country.
“Government has a duty to maintain law and order and ensure that there is peace and security,” he said. “It is against this background that I call upon all political parties to abide by the laws of this country.
“Every political party, group or individuals should share the same space while exercising their constitutional right and should be balanced with the maintenance of law and order in the country.
“Let me reiterate that both State and human security are of paramount importance to us as Government during this election period, hence our security institutions are on high alert. Let me also remind those who are planning demonstrations that they have an obligation to respect the laws of the country.”
Minister Mpofu said Government opened the democratic space, but that right must not be abused by anyone.
“The Government of Zimbabwe is doing all it can to ensure that every citizen exercises his/her democratic right to vote,” he said. “We have, therefore, put all State security apparatus on high alert and all those bent on causing disorder are being warned that the long arm of the law will be applied without fear or favour.
“The Zimbabwe Government is a signatory to various international conventions that guard against all forms of discrimination and violence against women.
It is, therefore, with deep concern and regret that we have noticed that some political parties have resorted to using violence and unpalatable threats against women through social media.
“Let me remind you all that as Government, we do not condone such behaviour and actions. The Zimbabwe Republic Police is currently pursuing all such cases of intimidation and threats perpetrated against individuals and duly constituted institutions with a view to bring such perpetrators to book.
“We are making a passionate appeal to all citizens to respect the dignity and liberty of other people. We urge those concerned to desist from such unbecoming actions.”
Minister Mpofu urged citizens and other stakeholders to remain peaceful and shun all forms of violence.
“We are appealing to citizens and stakeholders not to be hoodwinked into committing acts of violence and unlawful conduct,” he said. “Zimbabwe recognises the rule of law and let us all take advantage of the peaceful environment prevailing in the country to campaign peacefully.
“Let us also take heed of His Excellency, Cde E.D Mnangagwa’s continuous calls for peace and tolerance.”
Minister Mpofu said the police, together with other security organisations, will continue monitoring the security situation in the country.
The press conference was attended by the ministry’s permanent secretary Mr Melusi Matshiya, police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga and police Deputy Comm-Gen Levie Sibanda.
Addressing hundreds of Zanu-PF supporters at Whitecliff Farm in Zvimba district during a campaign rally aimed at drumming up support for the revolutionary party, VP Chiwenga said Mr Chamisa should stop purporting to be speaking on behalf of all the opposition parties and their presidential candidates.
Mr Chamisa has been threatening to disrupt the elections if his demands are not met by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
This is despite advice he has been getting from both local and international election observers and fellow candidates to approach the courts if he feels aggrieved.
“We have 23 presidential candidates,” said VP Chiwenga. “We now see others are now afraid. They ran a 21-kilometre race as if they were running a 100-metre race, they have now capitulated.
“They now say they want to direct Harare to disrupt everything, they want to stop Zec from conducting elections the same way they used to do at the university. Are you now the representative of all the political parties? You should respect the will of the people and if you lose the election accept it and say chero ndasara ndiri mupenyu (at least I have another chance next time).
“You need not to cause anarchy in the country. If you insult a woman you would have also done the same to your mother. Zec is an independent body. The executive has nothing to do with its operations. It is a commission put into being by Parliament through the Constitution of Zimbabwe. They are not subjected to any directive other than the Electoral Act and the Constitution.”
VP Chiwenga said the time of student activism and demonstrations where property was damaged was over.
He said those who would have been given loans should be honest enough and repay the money and not repeat what used to happen when Mr Saviour Kasukuwere was Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, where there was no culture of repayment.
“You will get loans to do projects from the Empowerment Bank for youths and Women Microfinance Bank and return the money where you would have borrowed after selling your products,” he said.
“We don’t want a repeat of the situation when Kasukuwere was minister when those who accessed loans did not repay them. We want people who are honest, who are not corrupt.”
VP Chiwenga said Government would not tolerate corruption and offenders would be imprisoned.