ZIMBABWE’s service chiefs have placed a well-oiled state machinery on high alert, ready to viciously thwart any protests following indications of an impending uprising.
Multiple official and security sources told NewZimbabwe.com Friday that the country’s defence forces have been preparing for an eventual outbreak of civil disobedience for the past two months as discontentment over a worsening economic crisis engulfed the country.
The sources said intelligence agencies have been presenting adverse reports to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, showing that in general, the economic crisis was providing fertile grounds for mass protests.
The crisis is underlined by an astronomic cost of living, runaway inflation, skyrocketing fuel prices and erosion of the value of the Zimbabwean dollar which reached levels only surpassed by the 2008 hyperinflationary era.
An informed source said: “The entire security sector is on high alert. They know that there is a realistic likelihood of an uprising and every effort is being made to thwart it.”
“The president himself consistently been given security situation reports indicating the ground is fertile for an upheaval and that is why he is frequently talking about economic saboteurs. It’s a delicate situation,” the source said.
Another source said it was not by coincidence that Mnangagwa’s recent speeches have been threat laden.
In one such speech, at an event for youths on the even of independence commemorations, Mnangagwa said: “If you protest, we will arrest you. Make money.”
As if to confirm the state’s fears, civil society organisations, university students, teachers and nurses have called for a national shutdown next Monday to protest against the rocketing cost of living.
In the private sector, there is also growing discontent with workers and their employers engaged in wage disputes, forcing some companies to pay a percentage of the wages in United States dollars.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) announced that there is going to be a transport march following the transport crisis that has seen commuters waiting for transport for more than three hours.
The organisation’s spokesman Obert Masaraure said: “The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition stands firmly behind calls for a public protest against failure by the government to come up with a proper public transportation system. On Friday, May 6, 2022 aggrieved Zimbabweans will march against the continued shortage of public transport especially in urban areas.”
“This trend has resulted in commuters being charged exorbitant fares as some unregistered private players capitalize on the desperation among commuters while a lot of productive time is being wasted in long queues.”
“We note with concern the failure by the government to resuscitate the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) and provide an efficient and reliable public transport system.”
Government spokesman Nick Mangwana virtually confirmed in a Twitter post that a well-oiled state machinery was on standby to deal with protesters.
“You want to be unproductive? That is your baby. You want to try to stop someone from going where they want to go or do what they want to do or fend for their family? The law will do its power to stop you!” Mangwana said.
Meanwhile, South African opposition leader Mmusi Maimane also endorsed the shutdown and challenged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to let people demonstrate freely.
“The world will be watching when Zimbabwe happens. There is no room for suppression of the rights of the people including the right to protest.”
There should be no obstruction of the people, ED Mnangagwa there should be no arrests and intimidation of activists. South Africa has paid a heavy price for the oppression in Zimbabwe. We will not ignore brutality and oppression. We cannot support dictatorship anymore. It is costing us dearly, costing the whole of SADC,” Maimane said