By Costa Nkomo
GOVERNMENT will not hesitate to deploy the country’s security apparatus if the security of the State is threatened, Information secretary Nick Mangagwa has said.
Mangwana was reacting to weekend media reports that MDC deputy national chairman Job Sikhala had told party supporters in Masvingo that the opposition party was preparing itself to overthrow Prsident Emmerson Mnangagwa before teh country’s next elections in 2023.
“The illegal undermining of a legitimate authority is a serious crime. Trying to overthrow a government is subversive and government will not hesitate to deploy the security institutions to constrain such abuse of democratic tenets and maintain the constitutional order,” said Mangwana.
Since taking over from his predecessor Robert Mugabe in November 2017, on the back of a military coup and subsequently winning elections last year, Mnangagwa has sought to re-engage the international community on the basis of establishing a new political culture anchored on freeing the democratic space.
However, his efforts have been soiled by the deployment of the military to deal with civil unrest with deadly effect on two occasion in which over 20 people were killed.
And Mangwana seemed aware of this, telling NewZimbabwe.com that Mnangagwa’s administration would not be “baited” into a kneejerk reaction arguing Sikhala’s statements could be aimed at provoking government.
“We don’t rule out a deliberate effort to provoke the authorities into enforcing the law so as to get negative international attention, at the time when the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Sibusiso Moyo), is meeting the British Foreign Minister, as well as the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Scotland to advance Zimbabwe’s Re-engagement and mainstreaming efforts,” Mangwana told NewZimbabwe.com before releasing a full statement on the issue.
Moyo will be in the UK this week for meetings with authorities in that country as Zimbabwe seeks a return to the Commonwealth from which Mugabe angrily pulled out in 2003 and investments from the former colonial master.
Mangwana called on the MDC to demobilise its “subversive animal instinct and deploy their faculties located in the higher centres of their brains and embrace constitutional means of opposing the government.”
Despite the deadly skirmishes in the past year, Mangwana said Zimbabwe enjoyed “relative peace” and that this was not an accident.
“Zimbabwe is a peaceful country and that peace is not accidental. That status of a peaceful country will be maintained by ensuring those that threaten democracy and the liberal values adopted by the New Dispensation (Mnangagwa’s administration) are tried and if convicted, removed from society and put in places where they don’t pose a threat to the rest of civilised society,” the Information secretary said.
Sikhala allegedly told an opposition rally in Bikita on Saturday that: “We are going to overthrow him (Mnangagwa) before 2023 that is not a joke.”
Mnangagwa has consistently accused the opposition of seeking to take power illegally. The MDC has rejected this instead arguing Mnangagwa “stole” last year’s election and should cede power.