The Zimbabwe Republic Police has deployed officers in all residential areas, shopping centres and the Central Business District to conduct patrols, surveillance and stop and search following some social media articles agitating Zimbabweans to engage in violence and unsanctioned demonstrations.
In a statement yesterday, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Cain Mathema implored Zimbabweans to disregard the social media posts.
“My ministry assures all peace loving citizens and visitors that the Zimbabwe Republic Police has deployed officers in all residential, shopping centres and CBD to conduct patrols, surveillance, stop and search and in the process account for unruly elements who may try to disturb the tranquil environment which is prevailing in the country,” he said.
“May I urge Zimbabweans to continue undertaking their various social and economic activities as usual. Members of the public should feel free to access services from various entities without any hindrance.”
In the same vein, said Minister Mathema, transport operators should continue to offer services to potential passengers as stipulated in their Road Service Permits and Route Authorities.
He urged drivers to report any acts of intimidation and incitement to commit violence to the police for swift action to be taken.
“My ministry has implored security agencies to take action on some rogue groups who are circulating old photo-shopped videos and pictures of purported violence and demonstrations on the pretext that this is taking place in Zimbabwe,” said Minister Mathema.
“The Commissioner-General of Police has put the Zimbabwe Republic Police on high alert and will ensure that the law is applied without fear or favour on anyone who incites or engages in any form of violence and unsanctioned gathering.”
The Zanu-PF Youth League also issued a stern warning against opposition elements bent on causing chaos in the country.
Addressing a Press conference yesterday, Youth League national deputy secretary Cde Lewis Matutu said: “We will not allow the opposition to push us into a corner, we know they have promised to destroy cars and infrastructure, so we say to them this is not going to help anyone, it is either them or us, no one is going to be helped by demonstrations.
“This is not a church, obviously we will not sit down and watch them destroy us, causing anarchy and violence in Zimbabwe. That is not going to happen.”
Cde Matutu said people should not be misled by the opposition.
“So, those people who are going to be very unfortunate to be misled we would like to say to them at the end of the day after you would have been abused and used to cause violence in town, at the end of the day you will go back to your homes,” he said.
“These demonstrations are not going to provide these basic commodities to you. Our appeal is not to the MDC, but to the general public as they are the ones who my then be caught unaware of the consequences, so we say to them do not be misled or abused.”
After years of international isolation, Zimbabwe’s economy has been in decline for more than a decade with cash shortages, high unemployment and a recent scarcity of basic staples like bread and cooking oil.
In a televised address late Saturday, Mnangagwa said prices of petrol and diesel would more than double to tackle a shortfall caused by increased demand and “rampant” illegal trading.
Mnangagwa, who took over from longtime leader Robert Mugabe and won a disputed election last July, also announced a package of measures to help state workers after strikes by doctors and teachers over poor pay.
He said from midnight on Saturday, petrol prices would rise from $1.24 a litre to $3.31 (2.89 euros) and diesel from $1.36 a litre to $3.11.