Zanu PF national political commissar Victor Matemadanda has warned would-be protesters that the army will be readily deployed to quell any political unrest, saying if that happens; the use of maximum force should be expected.
Addressing a Zanu PF Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting in Masvingo recently, Matemadanda, who is also Defence and War Veterans deputy minister, said government would not be intimidated by violent demonstrations.
“You can play with the police but not with the army. The police get trained to use minimum force but in the military, it is a completely different story. The army is trained to use deadly force whenever it gets deployed.
“I am not threatening anyone but all I am saying is let us work to build our country and not destroy it. Regular protests are dealt with by the police who will pick you up and throw you into a car when you misbehave – that is child’s play – but when you start destroying property, the army is constitutionally mandated to step in,” said Matemadanda.
Matemadanda said he was surprised that people tried to make an issue of who deployed the army in times of trouble like the August 01, 2018 demonstrations which saw six people being shot dead and 35 more being injured in Harare.
“We hear people asking about who deployed the army but the answer is right in the country’s constitution. The army is mandated to step in to help the police when they are overwhelmed and from that moment, it will be deadly force. So I am warning people to desist from engaging in violent protests because violent protests will be dealt with violently.
“We had been complaining of potholes on our roads for a long time. Now when those roads are being fixed, someone comes with a tyre and burns it to create new potholes. Do you then expect us to fold our hands and do nothing?
“We have faced bigger threats before and many people paid the ultimate price and we are here today because of that,” Matemadanda said.
He said it was high time President Mnangagwa stopped being a listening President and started ‘biting’.
“President Mnangagwa is a listening President but people have abused that. He should stop listening and start biting. I was angered by one Mkwananzi (Tajamuka/Sesjikile leader Promise Mkwananzi) who said there would be a blood bath in Harare yet he is in South Africa, what a coward. Whose blood is he talking about? Whose child’s blood? He should come here and lead from the front and not mislead people into harm’s way while he remains safe in South Africa. When we said ‘It Can’t’, we did not go out of the country. We were here and we even forgot that we had passports,” said Matemadanda, referring to his campaign of defiance against former president Robert Mugabe’s alleged plans to set up his wife Grace as his successor.
Matemadanda warned that Zanu PF will never surrender power to ‘people who burn tyres on the streets’, saying that would disappoint even the dead party cadres who fought in the liberation struggle.
“If the heavens were to open up one day and our departed comrades like Hebert Chitepo asked us what became of the country they fought for, and we told them that the country was taken from us by people who burnt tyres…ahhh,” said Matemadanda to loud applause.
Earlier on, Zanu PF secretary for security in the politburo, Lovemore Matuke had given a summary of his department’s national outreach work, warning that the party will not allow ‘shutdowns’.
“We have been going around the country briefing the people on government programmes. We are asking the people to accept the new Zimbabwe dollar introduced by government and not engage in misguided shutdowns. We will not sit around and let provocateurs mobilise our people for shutdowns,” said Matuke, who is also Labour and Social Welfare deputy minister.