Zimbabwe’s security services were on Thursday jolted into a two-hour meeting after MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa announced plans to roll-out mass protests across the country against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
Using his party’s social media platform, Chamisa presented what he termed MDC Alliance’s Agenda 2021.
He warned that the MDC Alliance will “resist and oppose evictions, demolitions, and any violations of people’s freedom and citizens’ rights. We will peacefully resist and oppose sustaining businesses and companies that oppress us the people.”
“We will peacefully resist and oppose institutions that oppress us the people. We will peacefully resist and oppose illegal enforcement. We will peacefully resist and oppose unconstitutional laws. We will peacefully resist and oppose the weaponisation of laws and judiciary systems. We will peacefully resist and oppose the illegitimate oppressors that stole the election,” Chamisa said.
The central theme in his statement was that the people will resist whatever the ruling party will pre-offer.
Barely two days after his presentation Zimbabwe’s Joint Operation Command (Joc), which brings together the heads of security wings, namely the military, police and state security, sprang into action.
Joc is the supreme organ for the coordination of state security in Zimbabwe. Thursday’s meeting was the organ’s second meeting in 2021.
Zim Morning Post is reliably informed that Joc held a two-hour-meeting which took place on Thursday from 1400 hours focused on scenarios and reigniting of state machinery in readiness to what Chamisa calls “a season of protests by the citizens.”
MDC Alliance insiders told Zim Morning Post that the opposition’s youth wing will spearhead the protests.
“There will be pockets of resistance from various sections of our communities. The youths are crusaders of this new mass resistance which will take place mainly in urban areas. It is a new season,” the top official said.
Joc sources also said the State is ready for any form of protest.
“Scenarios presented looked at how the State is likely to react with minimum force. What is clear is that enemies of the State want to destabilise the prevailing peaceful environment. The protests will be stopped,” a Joc insider said.
Protests have been met with resistance in Zimbabwe, case-in-point the 14 January 2019 protests that followed a 130% increase in the price of fuel imposed by the government.
Thousands of Zimbabweans protested against the price increase, along with increasing levels of poverty, the poor state of the economy, and declining standards of living.
The government responded with a coordinated crackdown that resulted in hundreds of arrests and multiple deaths.
The protests stopped after three days; by 17 January, businesses started reopening as the protests ended.
On Tuesday Chamisa called to action MDC Alliance followers saying “change will not come if we wait for some other person or time. You and I are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change we seek.”
He said 2020 was a difficult year, “but we survived adverse forces that were trained against us, itself a strong testimony of the strength of the idea that we represent and the undying spirit of our people.”
He added: “In 2021, we will consolidate our position as the movement that represents the dreams and aspirations of all progressive Zimbabweans. We have identified the strategy of the oppressors is to create a controlled opposition, a government controlled opposition under their command politics. This will effectively establish a one-party state in all but name.”
On Friday Zanu PF reacted to Chamisa stating it had “noted with contempt the MDC Alliance’s veiled threats to unseat a constitutionally elected Government.”
Chamisa narrowly lost the July 2018 election to President Emmerson Mnangagwa before he suffered a huge blow in March 2020, when the Constitutional Court ruled that he was improperly appointed deputy president of the MDC-T by Morgan Tsvangirai in 2016 and his elevation when Tsvangirai died in 2018 was in breach of the MDC-T constitution.
“In his long monologue, Mr Chamisa did not only fail to demonstrate leadership but failed to instil hope in his fractured party, instead, rumbling about seeking to establish pockets of resistance across the country similar to the ill-fated 31 July 2020 attempted violence demonstrations whose sole attempt was to destabilise the country. While Zanu PF has the capacity to thwart such machinations as a law abiding organisation we rest the matter with the law enforcement agencies,” said Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo.