All of Zimbabwe’s ports of entry and exit will operate normally tomorrow, and travellers should ignore threats by Western-sponsored groups to shut down border posts, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo has said.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe added that those seeking to illegally shut down borders were terrorists.
Speaking to The Sunday Mail from Maputo, Mozambique last night, Dr Chombo said police would come down hard on “mischief makers” and protect law-abiding individuals.
Last week, Mr Evan Mawarire of the regime change #thisflag agenda and #tajamuka started instigating violence camouflaged as protests at all border posts.
Dr Chombo said: “All Government agencies operating at our ports of entry will be working normally from Monday going onwards. The messages which are being circulated on social media by some unruly elements should be discounted with the contempt they deserve.
“These are just mischief-makers bent on creating chaos in the country and destabilising it. As Government, we would like to assure all Zimbabweans and foreigners travelling into the country that all our ports of entry will be open for business as per normal.
Our law enforcement agencies will be out in full force to maintain peace and order. These messages should be ignored by all right-thinking citizens.”
Dr Mushohwe weighed in: “We want to warn those who are threatening to close our borders that those threats amount to terrorism.
”As Government, we shall not stand by and watch when we have people indicating that they will unleash acts of terrorism in the country.
“Our law enforcement agencies will be out in full force because we cannot stand by while we have people threatening to destabilise the country. We will not accept mayhem at any cost.”
Zimbabwe introduced Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 to restrict importation of goods that local manufacturers can produce; such as baked beans, peanut butter, cheese, fertilisers, shoe polish, body creams, coffee creamers, second-hand tyres and hardware material.
Angola adopted similar restrictions to protect and grow its manufacturing base after 27 years of civil war; while South Africa has the “Proudly South African” campaign, which is similar to “Buy Zimbabwe”, to advocate domestic product purchases.
Since cooking oil was struck off Zimbabwe’s import catalogue in 2014, local brands now occupy 95 percent of supermarket shelf space, a huge leap from 15 percent.
The price has also declined from roughly US$4,20 for two litres to about US$2,60.
The same destabilisation agents unleashed violence at Beitbridge Border Post, burning and stoning property, in early July 2016 when the restrictions were introduced.
The United States and French embassies in Harare allegedly sponsored the individuals behind that violence, a charge that the two have denied.