Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday warned MDC-T against inciting illegal and violent protests, saying the security services were ready to ensure the rule of law prevails.
Delivering his keynote address on the occasion of the 34th Independence anniversary celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday, the President said while the law allowed peaceful demonstrations, anyone who engaged in unsanctioned and violent actions would be dealt with accordingly.
His warning follows threats by MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and his inner circle to take to the streets in a bid to unseat the Government in the wake of their cataclysmic electoral loss to Zanu-PF last year.
Click the link below to listen to President Mugabe’s Independence Day Speech
“Tinoda kutaura izvozvo — we shall never tolerate acts of violence. If there are going to be protests, protests that are non-violent that the police have given permission to that’s a different matter.
“But if people are going to go out merely to create violence because they are being instigated by some NGOs which don’t want the Zanu-PF Government to continue to rule then they are mistaken in their belief that they can succeed.
“They must look at us and look at our history. Ngavarege kutiona kuti kunyarara kwatakaita vachiti ‘aah vanhu vaya ava hapasisina zvavachakwanisa kuita, vadhamba’. Tinovadhambisa. Aiwa, kana iko kamudhara ke90 years chibhakera chacho . . . i90 tonnes icho ndokutidibura nacho (They must not mistake our silence for incapacity, that we are tired. We will deal with them. Even this 90-year-old man can pack a 90 tonne punch. I will floor you)!’’ the President said to wild applause from the packed stadium.
Pointing to members of the ZDF on parade on the pitch, the President said: “Ayaka mauto angu ndochibhakera changu aya. Munyika hatidi kurovana, zvose izvozvo tinenge tisingadi (These security forces are my fist. We do not want violence in the country, we don’t want all that). We want people to live in peace,” President Mugabe said.
In apparent reference to the intra-party violence ravaging the opposition MDC-T that has culminated in the assault of several senior party leaders and their supporters calling for Mr Tsvangirai’s resignation, President Mugabe called for peaceful resolution of differences.
“Hatidi huny’any’a pakati pedu, avo vatirikunzwa varikuda kurovana nekuti havachanzwanana. Aiwa, tinoda kuti vagadzirisane pabato ravo vari mumaoffice, zvekurovana hatizvide (we do not want barbarism in our midst. Those who we hear are planning to beat each other up because of diffierences, we do not want that. They must sit down and resolve their differences in the office, We do not want violence)
“Nyangwe muchirovana muri veMDC kana chii takaramba violence kare. Itai nyaya dzenyu parunyararo, gakava rinoitwa asi vanhu vanogara pasi. Kana muchisiyana vanobuda vobuda parunyararo, kana uchida kuita party yako woita parunyararo (Even if you are beating each other up as the MDC or whatever party, we have always said no to violence. Conduct your business in peace. Differences arise yes but people sit down and talk. If you are to split, separate peacefully. If others want to form their party, let them go about it in peace as well).
“Hamungarambidze vane pfungwa dzakati kuti kuitawo chido chavo kana kutaura zvavanenge vainazvo. Kofreedom yatinotaura yakauya nerusununguko inogobva papi (You should not silence those with a different view to express it. Where would be the freedom that we fought for)?” President Mugabe asked.
MDC-T deputy treasurer general Mr Elton Mangoma and youth leader Mr Promise Mkwananzi were last month assaulted by youths aligned to Mr Tsvangirai as the embattled MDC-T leader looked on, party secretary general Mr Tendai Biti had to take cover in Mr Tsvangirai’s car.
Mr Mangoma, Mkwananzi, and two other officials Mr Jacob Mafume and Last Maingehama, who have have since been expelled from the party, have refused to accept the expulsions.
Secretary general, Mr Tendai Biti’s Umwinsdale home in Harare was in February petrol-bombed by unknown people, and the case was reported to the police who are still to avail their findings.
This was the second such attack on Mr Biti’s property.
Another petrol bombing occured at MDC-T Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Mr Godfrey Chimombe’s shop in Bindura.
Other victims of Mr Tsvangirai’s violent supporters are Harare North youth secretary for information Ms Angela Hwanyanya and Chitungwiza provincial secretary Mr Chari Parirenyatwa, who were both assaulted at Harvest House.
Eleven MDC-T youths from Chitungwiza are currently out on bail in cases of intra-party violence.
Chronology of violence in the MDC-T
February 2014: Deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma and youth secretary Promise Mkwananzi allegedly assaulted outside Harvest House.
February 2014: Secretary-general Tendai Biti and youth chairperson Solomon Madzore escape assault at Harvest House.
March 2014: Harare North secretary for information Ms Angela Hwanyanya assaulted at Harvest House.
March 2014: Chitungwiza provincial secretary Chari Parirenyatwa assaulted at Harvest House.