Home Affairs minister, Ignatius Chombo, has claimed that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) is training a terror outfit to destabilise the country.
There is intelligence which we are gathering, and indications are that these people have been trained outside Zimbabwe to carry out these acts.
“In due time, we will expose what they have been doing behind the scenes leading up to these protests because a lot has been happening.
“As President (Robert) Mugabe correctly alluded to in his speech on (Friday), these people are plotting an ‘Arab Spring’ strategy to remove the sitting Government of Zanu-PF.
“We are aware of these opposition leaders who are leading these acts and very soon, they are going to be made to account for their deeds,” said Chombo.
Mugabe on Friday claimed that MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was mobilising violent protests in the fashion of the 2011 Arab Springs that toppled governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Chombo’s accusation comes after a series of street protests from July as citizens demonstrated against President Robert Mugabe’s rule, corruption, unpopular policies such as a ban on a selected range of imports and, lately, absence of electoral reform ahead of the 2018 elections.
Critics have blamed the police for provoking violence by beating up citizen activists and congregants at political gatherings who would have started off their protests peacefully.
Police on Friday initially tried to stop an electoral reform march bringing together 18 opposition parties but the High Court ordered that it must proceed, after which anti-riot details forcefully dispersed the protesters with teargas and a water cannon.
This resulted in running battles with the police who later received army reinforcements and angry demonstrators threw stones, barricade roads, burnt tyres and damaged some shops.
These protesters, according to Chombo and reported security intelligence, are the militia that MDC-T is alleged to be training.
A report by the government controlled weekly Sunday Mail claimed intelligence gathered so far indicated that MDC-T started training the #Tajamuka and #ThisFlag“bandits” or “career demonstrators” in July, when citizens were engaged in angry protests.
Evan Mawarire, a pastor who has since found refuge in the United States of America, led the #ThisFlag campaign that combined forces with #Tajamuka in the popcorn demonstrations that rocked several cities.
Government-controlled media reports claimed that MDC-T had sent youths to train in banditry in some unnamed African countries after which they returned to throw stones in the streets.
Chombo’s deputy, Obedingwa Mguni, last week told parliament that government would arrest protesting “terrorists” and also visit their homes to rehabilitate them.
“We have a very strong intelligence section that is gathering all the data (of career demonstrators) that you are concerned about.
“We are not only arresting people, but we have gone a step further and now go out to visit such people and rehabilitate them so that they fit well into the society. We do not want people who endanger other people’s lives,” said Mguni.
Protest leaders have largely used social media to mobilise citizens, but government is railroading a Cyber Crime and Computer Crime bill quash online “terrorism