Sunday, 28 August 2016


The opposition MDC-T began plotting to destabilise Zimbabwe in July 2016 and had members of its youth wing trained in paramilitary tactics and urban violence outside the country, The Sunday Mail has gathered. Further, authorities are compiling a database of “career demonstrators” involved in destabilisation efforts over the months and will either apprehend or rehabilitate them.

Information gathered suggests senior MDC-T figures began plotting in July when shadowy elements, going by the hashtags “tajamuka” and “thisflag” sparked civil disturbances in Harare, Bulawayo and Beitbridge, threatening to make the opposition party a sideshow.

It is believed MDC-T hawks, started planning civil disobedience and sent youths for training in certain African countries (names supplied). These groups were deployed last week to unleash unprecedented violence in Harare’s central business district.

The Sunday Mail witnessed how some of them hid bricks and stones in lunch boxes, milled around intersections “innocently” and then attacked unsuspecting police officers. The “protesters” also used catapults.

At First Street Police Post in Harare, officers had to retreat after an opposition activist tossed a teargas canister into their station. Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo told this paper that information at hand indicates the attackers had been trained.

“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 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. “They really think they have gone a gear up, but it will not work here. 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.”

Last week, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Obedingwa Mguni told the National Assembly that culprits would be brought to book and then rehabilitated. He was responding to a question from Chegutu West MP Cde Dexter Nduna (Zanu-PF).

Cde Mguni said, “Unfortunately Honourable Nduna, we cannot fully reveal the steps that we are taking, but I will try to partially answer your question. We have a very strong intelligence section that is gathering all the data (of career demonstrators) that you are concerned about.

“We are now advanced because some people need rehabilitation. 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.”

In an interview with The Sunday Mail afterwards, Deputy Minister Mguni said: “I cannot reveal details about our intelligence operations. But what we are doing is gathering information to bring these people who are organising these protests down.

“We have noticed over the week that these demonstrations have now turned criminal to the effect that they have become avenues for looting, arson and other criminal activities that are not related to peaceful demonstrations.

“So, what I told Parliament was we are using our intelligence infrastructure to detect people at the forefront of organising these activities and bring them to book.” And a Government official who preferred anonymity said the judiciary should be wary of elements who wanted to use the courts orders to unleash terror.

“Eyebrows are being raised over some of these judgments (allowing protests to go ahead), and there is serious worry that there could be something amiss in the Judiciary. “It does not make legal sense for the protesters to be granted the right to protest when there is clear evidence each time they have been granted that right, they have gone on to unleash violence. Corrective action will have to be taken.”

Another said, “On Wednesday, there was a lot of chaos and violence as the MDC-T youths ran riot in the CBD. Surely this should have informed the decision on the next application that the opposition would make for a ‘peaceful demonstration and march’.

“In my view, there were several compelling reasons to suspend the ‘protests’. There was the Agricultural Show where many people, including children, were gathered, and a very senior foreign dignitary was visiting the country and the Show. Children are on holiday, and there are queues at banks. So we have a lot of people in town. Most important was the precedent set on Wednesday when thugs burnt cars and raided retailers.”

Security sources told The Sunday Mail that the “protests” had been backed with Western money, some of which is being channelled to give free legal representation to those arrested.

The sources said the protests were tailored to portray Zimbabwe in bad light during the Ticad Summit in Kenya, this week’s Sadc Summit of Heads of State and Government in Swaziland and the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The United States and Canadian embassies in Harare blew their cover when they openly supported the riots, while so-called Group of Elders members Mr Kofi Annan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Ms Graca Machel called for a “transition in Zimbabwe”. sunday mail


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