Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
POLICE yesterday unearthed a plot by MDC Alliance to unleash violence in their purported “peaceful” demonstrations in Harare today and other cities with more political parties distancing themselves from the protests.
The police have since seized catapults and granite stones among other weapons that the MDC Alliance wanted to use in their orgy of violence.
It was also revealed that some MDC Alliance activists were going about intimidating citizens trying to force them into participating in their protests.
The police however, assured the nation that they are on high alert and out in full force to ensure that rights of citizens are not infringed upon.
In a statement, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they have enough evidence to conclude that the demonstrations will be violent.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police informs the nation that based on the notifications given by the MDC ‘A’ to regulating authorities to hold a demonstration in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru. Masvingo and Mutare and surrounding towns on 16th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd August 2019, intelligence and concrete evidence on the ground has revealed that indeed the so called ‘peaceful’ demonstrations will turn out to be violent,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“It is a fact that police recovered a substantial quantity of granite stones and catapults stashed in sacks and were delivered by two vehicles which had no registration number plates at corner Nelson Mandela and Innez Terrace, Harare during the night on 13th August 2019. The vehicles went on to drop sacks containing unknown items to some street kids at Corner Robert Mugabe/Harare Street, Copacabana commuter rank and disappeared.
The sacks were then taken away by unidentified street kids who suddenly disappeared into the darkness.”
Earlier in the week, Government revealed that they had gathered intelligence that the MDC Alliance and its affiliate civil society organisations were plotting protests and wanted to rope in street kids to cause anarchy.
Asst Comm Nyathi said intimidation of citizens ahead of the protests was rife in Chitungwiza.
“In another incident, over 120 MDC ‘A’ activists toyi-toyed at a shopping centre in Chitungwiza during the night while chanting party slogans and mobilised residents in St Mary’s and Chigovanyika Shopping Centre environs to participate on 16th August 2019.
The confrontational acts by the MDC activists coincides with the assaults of innocent members of the public after an accident in St Mary’s involving one of their senior officials at the weekend,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said in light of these developments, the police were on high alert to protect innocent citizens and their properties from the rogue elements.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is fully monitoring the situation and will thus not be distracted by insinuations that the demonstrations will be ‘peaceful’ yet on the ground the situation has openly indicated a violent mobilisation of the so called protests.
“Police reiterate that security services will not fold hands and allow violence, destruction of property, intimidation, threats and clandestine night acts of violent agitation to take centre stage. The ZRP is disturbed that these purported demonstrations by the MDC ‘A’ and partners have shown open violent acts which are physically manifesting on the ground,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi warned drivers of cars without number plates that their vehicles will be impounded even those belonging to the State.
He said some of the unregistered vehicles are used in the commission of crimes which include public disturbances.
Asst Comm Nyathi urged the public not to t involve themselves in matters that can get them in trouble with the law.
“Members of the public are implored to remain peaceful and continue to conduct their normal day to day activities. The ZRP assures all citizens of its readiness to provide security and maintain law and order throughout the country without fear or favour. Acts of lawlessness, threats or intimidation should be reported swiftly to the ZRP on complaints desk 0242-703631, Harare Operations 0242-748836, Bulawayo Operations or any nearest police station,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
Meanwhile, Zapu has said it is not participating in the demonstrations as it does not know the reasons behind them.
In an internal communication to Zapu members, the party’s national chairman Mr Isaac Mabuka said they did not know whether the protests would be violent or not.
“We therefore cannot stop our members who want to participate in their individual capacity but tell them that we were not involved in the planning and we don’t know the aims and objectives whether is to be violent or not,” said Mr Mabuka.
Sources said the MDC Alliance Bulawayo structures had made attempts to rope in Mthwakazi Republic Party in their violent demonstration but their overtures were snubbed. — nqotshili