OPPOSITION Transform Zimbabwe leader and organiser of the July 31 national protests against corruption, Jacob Ngarivhume has hit back at Zanu-PF commissar Victor Matemadanda over claims the citizen action was a western ploy to spread coronavirus in the country.

Matemadanda, also deputy defence minister, made startling claims at a press conference in Harare last week that the planned protests have received financial support from the west.

The Zanu-PF senior politician said the west, which has been hardest hit by the global pandemic, found the planned Zimbabwean protests as an opportunity to discharge teargas canisters laden with the virus, among locals.

But Ngarivhume saw everything ridiculous about the claim, adding that Matemadanda should not interfere with Zimbabweans if at all they found coronavirus a lesser risk than corruption.

“Covid-19 to date has killed 9 Zimbabweans, corruption to date has killed thousands of Zimbabweans and has impoverished millions of us,” he told NewZimbabwe.com.

“So the people of Zimbabwe are weighing the scales, to say, while we respectfully cooperate in fighting the Covid pandemic, we also have every right guaranteed by our Constitution to also converge and fight against the scourge of corruption which has impoverished millions of people of this nation.

“So, the people have a right to exercise their right to speak out against corruption.

“And for Cde Matemadanda to then to say we are sponsored by the west…so the people of Zimbabwe are sponsored by the west because on their own they cannot think of the need to fight against corruption!

“To think that every idea and every time that Zimbabweans want to speak out then it’s the west, it is despicable.”

Ngarivhume added, “It is a terrible mentality, which is anti-Zimbabwean, which is anti-African to believe that your own people can’t think.

“For him to say the people of this nation cannot think beyond Zanu-PF, the people of this nation cannot think beyond corruption, is a mentality which is completely detached from the needs of the people Zimbabwe.”

The opposition leader said Zimbabweans set to take part in the planned protest were not just from the opposition but Zanu-PF as well.

“We are getting a lot of support from Zimbabweans who are members of Zanu-PF, Zimbabweans in different institutions, civil society, in business, Zimbabweans in the police, Zimbabweans in the military, want us to speak against corruption,” he said.

“They are sick and tired of corruption, benefiting only a few but impoverishing the rest of the nation and then for Matemadanda to ignore that and say who ever thinks that corruption is wrong, it’s terrible.

“So in another words, he feels he needs to be protected amidst the corruption which is impoverished the nation, this is unfortunate and this is the Zimbabwe we do not want.”