Stayaway flop sends clear message to anarchists
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.