By Idah Mhetu
ZANU PF has threatened to unleash its own supporters to counter national anti-government protests planned for July 31 by the MDC Alliance and its opposition allies.
Addressing the media soon after a politburo meeting at the party headquarters Friday, Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa dared MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa to lead the protests himself and be taught a lesson.
The former finance and justice minister described Chamisa as a coward leader who was fond of pushing followers to the front while he enjoyed the safety of his own home.
“We send this warning loud and clear and we say to Chamisa and those who are like-minded, don’t be the cowards that were on the first of August 2018.
“You were never to be found, you were in your houses.”
Chinamasa was referring to the ill-fated Harare demonstrations which saw the military gun down six civilians and injuring more in protests against alleged rigging of the July 2018 poll.
He added, “If you do whatever you are threatening to do, come to the front and face the music.
“We have our cadres and they are ready to take up and to take on anybody who attacks them.
“Zanu PF members have a right to defend themselves and will not sit idle as we did in January 2019.
“We have a right to defend our homes, our persons, our property and we will do just that.
“So please send out that warning to Chamisa that he should not be the coward that he has been, let him come in front and we will face him.”
The July 31 protests were planned by Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume but have received support from the main opposition.
Chinamasa declared this shall not take place while they watched.
“Zanu PF doesn’t sleep with one eye open,” he said.
“We remain vigilant against the machinations of the enemy and they have been very intensified in recent weeks.
“We have also noted the use of the same social media platforms to plan and organise for violent demonstrations aimed at overthrowing our constitutionally constituted government.
“Let me say this to Chamisa and those who are calling for demonstrations at the end of this July.
“What happened on the first of August 2018 will never happen again in this country. What happened on the 14th to 16th of January 2019, attacking property, attacking persons, causing injuries will never happen again.”
The Zanu PF spokesperson also warned foreign embassies which stray from their mandates to dabble in the country’s politics to stop the habit.
“There are foreign interests fuelling and funding the proposed demonstration at the end of the month and also being very active on social media to vilify and undermine the government and Zanu PF.
“So sadly, we are being misunderstood that when we talk about re-engaging, it’s not from a position of weakness but it is because we believe in international solidarity which was very key to our mounting the armed struggle.
“Sadly, these attacks are spoiling the good name of the country and its leadership on the global scale. This has to stop forthwith. It is very clear that the aim is a regime change agenda, a priority despite our efforts to re-engage,” he said.