GOVERNMENT yesterday threatened to descend heavily and crush cash demonstrations planned by the main opposition MDC-T party.
This came as the MDC-T national council met in the capital and resolved to mobilise street protests soon to force the Zanu PF government to rescind its decision to introduce bond notes in two months’ time as part of measures to ease the current cash crisis.
Addressing journalists in Harare, Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, who is also Zanu PF administration secretary, warned the police would “ruthlessly deal with malcontents bent on causing disorder and chaos in the country”, as political temperatures soar in Zimbabwe.
“You cannot simply go out there and threaten demonstrations because you want to create chaos and mayhem by calling for demonstrations in our cities,” he said.
“Those agitating for such will be dealt with by the police. I want to urge my colleague politicians not to create havoc in a country enjoying this peace.
“There are political parties that are going out and promising people that we need to go and have a demonstration against bond notes, against anything. I am saying to those parties there are very clear procedures they must follow.”
The move to introduce bond notes has been widely rejected by a cross section of society, including businesses, civic groups and opposition parties, who have threatened street protests.
“I mean, a political party simply going out to incite people that let’s go and demonstrate against this — I don’t want to see any political party inciting people to demonstrate without following due processes. If they do so, they will have themselves to blame. But, honestly, how do you protest against money?” Chombo asked
But the MDC-T national council, which met in Harare yesterday, vowed to go ahead with the street protests against bond notes.
“We discussed the issue of bond notes and resolved to go for street protests as well as follow the legal route to stop their introduction,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
“We believe it’s illegal what the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) is trying to do. We will not be stopped from enjoying our constitutional right to demonstrate by threats from Chombo or any other Zanu PF official.”
The National Informal Economy Network on Wednesday said the problems facing the country needed a political solution, not the introduction of bond notes, which could further worsen the suffering of ordinary people.
The spokesperson for the network, Promise Mkwananzi, said several stakeholders had joined hands to form a united front to resist the bond notes through various means including demonstrations and boycotts.
Meanwhile, Chombo said 19 more Zimbabwean women, victims of human trafficking in Kuwait, had been rescued.
He said the women were currently staying at the residence of Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Kuwait, while government was mobilising resources for their return.
“To date, a significant number of victims have been assisted to return to Zimbabwe. We have reports that more still need help to return and the government is working on different modalities to facilitate the safe return of our citizens,” Chombo said.
He said seven suspects behind the human trafficking ring were expected to be arrested soon.