STATE Security Minister Sydney Sekeramai has vowed a crackdown on perpetrators of violence by security agents ahead of next year's general elections.
Sekeramai says government will activate the security apparatus in the run-up to the polls to maintain order and preclude any coercion of voters.
“The public is assured that the army, police and intelligence services will be extremely vigilant and coordinating their activities before and during the elections to detect any trouble makers,” he told the Herald.
The Minister sought to allay growing fears that the country could once again slide into bloodshed that blighted the 2008 run-off election, forcing MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw in protest.
President Robert Mugabe went on to declare himself winner, sparking a political crisis that would attract the intervention of SADC, resulting in the formation of a unity government after a drawn-out negotiation process.
Hundreds of MDC activists were killed in the raging run-off violence. Zanu PF suffered minimal casualties.
Much of the violence was blamed on Mugabe who openly fed his supporters red meat rhetoric, taking every opportunity to remind them that Zimbabwe’s independence was attained after a brutal guerilla war and that Zanu PF could therefore, not allow power to slip by the “mere stroke of a pen.”
Critics question the security apparatus’ impartiality given their known leanings towards Zanu PF. They have also been accused of torturing MDC activists and officials.
Yet Sekeramai says: “The peace-loving public should be assured that all the security sectors will be on full alert and are doing their best that the election period will be a picnic.
“Security has always been the priority of government... The role of the security sector is to defend Zimbabwe’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and national interests.”