Stay­away flop sends clear mes­sage to an­ar­chists

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

ZIM­BAB­WEANS yes­ter­day sent a clear and un­am­bigu­ous mes­sage to spon­sors of ter­ror and mer­chants of vi­o­lence that anar­chy and chaos will not be used to top­ple a le­git­i­mately elected Gov­ern­ment. The spec­tac­u­lar fail­ure of a na­tion­wide shut­down called by shad­owy groups among them #Ta­ja­muka, #ThisFlag and #ThisCoun­try shows that the peo­ple of this coun­try can now see through the cha­rade and lie be­ing ped­dled by these groups that Zim­bab­weans would rather crash and burn their coun­try to achieve regime change.

As we re­port else­where on these pages, the coun­try was an oa­sis of peace with cit­i­zens go­ing about their busi­ness in a nor­mal man­ner. Cities and towns across the length of breadth of Zim­babwe were the usual hus­tle and bus­tle as­so­ci­ated with a nor­mal work­ing day de­spite the bar­rage of mis­lead­ing so­cial me­dia mes­sages jus­ti­fy­ing a stay­away.

Or­gan­is­ers of the shut­down had been hop­ing to use the stay­away to un­leash may­hem and chaos across the coun­try as part of a strat­egy to fo­ment an up­ris­ing. But it ap­pears they had not bar­gained for their worst night­mare a flop of mon­u­men­tal pro­por­tions. Lead­ing to yes­ter­day, so­cial me­dia was awash with sub­ver­sive mes­sages with busi­nesses be­ing threat­ened with burn­ing and loot­ing while pub­lic trans­port such as buses, po­lice sta­tions and ser­vice sta­tions had al­legedly been tar­geted for bomb­ings.

These guerilla mes­sages fol­low re­ports that there were in­sur­gent ac­tiv­i­ties which were sup­posed to start on Mon­day cul­mi­nat­ing in the shut­down yes­ter­day. One of the mes­sages cir­cu­lat­ing on plat­forms such as What­sApp read: “There will be se­ri­ous at­tacks on Gov­ern­ment prop­er­ties and those owned by Zanu-PF big­wigs and sup­port­ers. Busi­nesses are ad­vised not to open for busi­ness on Mon­day and Tues­day.

“Zim­babwe will be on se­ri­ous fire and guns will be blaz­ing ev­ery­where and po­lice sta­tions and road­blocks will be at­tacked. The State has de­clared war to its cit­i­zens and as con­cerned cit­i­zens, we are declar­ing war to the Gov­ern­ment now. Be warned. Don’t be found want­ing on Mon­day and Tues­day. Musamire sta­tions

Gladly, the mes­sages were largely ig­nored by peace-lov­ing Zim­bab­weans who also snubbed yes­ter­day’s call for a stay­away. We salute them for their fore­sight which has al­lowed them to see through the self-serv­ing an­tics of the likes of Pas­tor Evan Mawarire, Ta­ja­muka leader Prom­ise Mkhwananzi and Sten Zor­wadza of the Na­tional Ven­dors’ Union of Zim­babwe.

It has also emerged that some op­po­si­tion par­ties like the MDC-T and Zim­babwe Peo­ple First are us­ing ju­ve­nile ac­tivists as fod­der for jail by en­cour­ag­ing them to spread mes­sages which cause alarm and de­spon­dency. Gov­ern­ment has said it is aware of the nexus be­tween the shad­owy groups and op­po­si­tion el­e­ments, prin­ci­pally the MDC-T and ZimPF.

In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices per­ma­nent sec­re­tary Mr Ge­orge Charamba on Tues­day said the syn­ergy was vis­i­ble. “As such, Gov­ern­ment’s se­cu­rity sec­tors will deal with both the youths and their lead­ers who are us­ing and in­cit­ing them.

“There is fast con­ver­gence be­tween the rhetoric of vi­o­lence on so­cial me­dia and ac­tual vi­o­lence of op­po­si­tion goons on the streets of Harare and one would be a fool to think the sym­bio­sis re­mains in­vis­i­ble,” he said. “The next level of con­ver­gence will be one link­ing the law of the land and so-called lead­ers of the op­po­si­tion who can­not con­tinue to use im­pres­sion­able youths as fod­der for jails.”

Added Mr Charamba: “There are el­ders be­hind the ju­ve­nile vi­o­lence and the re­sponse can­not con­cen­trate on ter­ror­ist mi­nors only. It won’t be long. The ad­verb “peace­fully” on Sec­tion 59 of the Con­sti­tu­tion is not stylis­tic.”

Sec­tion 59 of the Con­sti­tu­tion stip­u­lates that ev­ery per­son has the right to demon­strate and pre­sent pe­ti­tions peace­fully. How­ever, most of the demon­stra­tions car­ried out by op­po­si­tion el­e­ments have been char­ac­terised by van­dal­ism, loot­ing, burn­ing of cars and at­tack­ing of in­no­cent peo­ple. Po­lice of­fi­cers go­ing about their du­ties have also been at­tacked.

This can­not be al­lowed to con­tinue. We agree with the Gov­ern­ment that the coun­try can­not be held to ran­som by an­ar­chists and a red line should be drawn. This is why we are to­tally against the hold­ing of a demon­stra­tion by a coali­tion of op­po­si­tion par­ties in Harare to­mor­row.

The vi­o­lence as­so­ci­ated with these never end­ing demos is detri­men­tal to the econ­omy. Al­ready, busi­nesses are count­ing their losses in the wake of demon­stra­tions and stay­aways and can il­laf­ford another costly dis­rup­tion. We im­plore the or­gan­is­ers of to­mor­row’s demon­stra­tion to con­sider the im­pact their event will have on strug­gling en­trepreneurs.

The loot­ing and de­struc­tion of stalls and other small busi­nesses spells doom for the econ­omy as the bulk of these traders are the back­bone of in­dus­try. We also strongly cau­tion op­po­si­tion par­ties against rid­ing on the naivety of youths to fo­ment chaos in the coun­try. If they are re­ally pop­u­lar and charis­matic lead­ers, they have an op­por­tu­nity to as­sume the reins of power through a con­sti­tu­tional process dur­ing elec­tions slated for 2018.

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