President Emmerson Mnangagwa has warned the general citizenry against engaging in ‘illegal, reckless and unwarranted’ anti-Government protests during the current lockdown, saying this is injurious to Zimbabwe’s battle to defeat the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic which has literally shaken the entire globe in recent months.
Addressing a minimally selected group of mourners and senior Government officials during the burial of the late ruling Zanu PF Bulawayo Metropolitan provincial chairman Absolom Sikhosana at the national heroes acre yesterday, Mnangagwa said the ‘illegal’ demonstrations were endangering the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.
The 76-year-old strongman said coronavirus was real while imploring on nationals to religiously adhere to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and focus on fighting the pandemic than staging demonstrations to ‘seek cheap political mileage’.
“I wish once again to draw the attention to the nation to the invisible enemy that has visited us in the form of coronavirus, also known as Covid-19,” said Mnangagwa.
“It is a real threat to us all and no one is safe or immune from it. Let us keep adhering to the World Health Organisation guidelines for preventing its spread. I want to end my remarks by reminding us to remain united and to keep the peace. We must never endanger the lives of our people through illegal, reckless and unwarranted demonstrations for political grandstanding. We are one people, one nation, one Zimbabwe.”
The long-ruling Zanu PF, in power since the country’s independence from British colonial dominion in 1980, has often been accused of abusing the state apparatus at its disposal to get rid of perennial dissent.
Last week, the Government questionably distanced itself from the alleged enforced abductions of three female opposition MDC Alliance Youth Assembly leaders, including Harare West legislator Joanna Mamombe.
Mnangagwa’s ousted late predecessor Robert Mugabe was previously criticised for his heavy-handedness on public dissent.
In typical Mugabe fashion, Mnangagwa’s overdependence on the dreaded intelligence wing, the CIO and the military, is replicate of the dictatorial style of leadership applied by the late nonagenarian during his 37 years of downright misrule.