Monday, 29 August 2016

TEAM LACOSTE STOKING UNREST : G40

As President Robert Mugabe’s panicking government cranks up its propaganda assault on critics, including making embarrassing claims that the MDC is training its youths outside the country to use stones and catapults to fight for change, stunning intra-Zanu PF allegations have emerged that Team Lacoste is at the heart of the ongoing civil unrest.

Well-placed Zanu PF sources linked to the ruling party faction which is opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe told the Daily News yesterday that it was allegedly “widely known” that the embattled VP’s supporters were playing a prominent role in the worsening anti-government protests.

The Generation 40 (G40) sources said Team Lacoste, as the Mnangagwa faction is known, had allegedly become so desperate to push Mugabe out of power before the country’s eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, that it was now not only “advising” the opposition, but also “working hard to foment anarchy in Zimbabwe” to achieve their goal.

“It is widely-known within the party that rogue Lacoste members are unleashing their own thugs and militia during protests as a way of putting pressure on Gushungo (Mugabe). Even you can see that there is a professional hand behind some of the current chaos.

“Do you think that it is by chance that Choppies (supermarket chain in which Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko is invested) is always attacked in these demos?,” one of the sources said — alluding to the fact that the attacks on the grocer chain were due to Mphoko’s alleged links to the G40.

The Zanu PF youth league, which is now also heavily linked to the G40, appeared to confirm the conspiracy yesterday, threatening to attack protesting Zimbabweans to help overwhelmed police to maintain order.

Addressing party youths and provincial officials who included MPs, who gathered in Harare, youth league boss Kudzai Chipanga claimed it was legal for the Zanu PF youths to assume the role of the police.

“When they demonstrate next time we must come in our numbers to help the police to protect the people. It is called citizenship arrests and it is provided for by the country’s laws. So, we must be able to capture the protestors and take them to the police,” he said.

Meanwhile, lapdog State media ratcheted up their assault on Zanu PF critics yesterday in what even senior ruling party officials admitted was “embarrassing propaganda” after government newspapers claimed the MDC had allegedly sent its youths outside the country for “training in paramilitary tactics and urban violence”.

“It is believed MDC-T hawks, faced with irrelevance and donor fatigue, started planning civil disobedience and sent youths for training in certain African countries (the countries were not named). 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 ‘protestors’ also used catapults,” the government’s unashamedly pro-Zanu PF newspapers reported.

But a senior Zanu PF official described the claims as “embarrassing propaganda”, adding that it was “ridiculous to suggest that anyone could send would-be saboteurs to foreign lands to learn to use stones and catapults”.

The panicking government’s propaganda blitzkrieg comes as the wave of uprising continues to grow that is threatening to knock Mugabe and Zanu PF off their perch, with fed-up Zimbabweans planning to mount two more massive demonstrations this week — beginning with a nationwide shutdown on Wednesday.

The announcement on Saturday by radical pressure group Tajamuka/Sesijikile that it would organise another debilitating nationwide shutdown, followed hard on the heels of the vow at the weekend by the group of 18 opposition parties who operate under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) that they would not be cowed by worsening police brutality, and would mount another mega demo in Harare on Friday.

Both opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC and former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) are part of Nera and say they will support the Tajamuka/Sesijikile nationwide shutdown which will in the main call for Mugabe’s resignation from power.

Last month, Tajamuka also played a prominent role in a massive stay-away which not only shut the country down, but was widely seen as the biggest general strike to have been mounted in the history of post-independent Zimbabwe. That mass action gave Mugabe an August 31 ultimatum to either relinquish power or face an uprising.

MDC secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora, called on all MDC supporters and other “right-thinking” Zimbabweans to come out in full force in solidarity with Tajamuka/Sesijikile on Wednesday.

“We will support efforts by Tajamuka/Sesijikile on Wednesday and all other progressive forces that want to remove Mugabe from power. We are unfazed by Mugabe’s hollow threats that are meant to intimidate us because his end is nigh,” Mwonzora said.

Afghanistan-based political commentator, Maxwell Saungweme, said the shutdown and other protests could usher in a new political dispensation in the country, notwithstanding the government’s iron-fisted response to the growing dissent by the populace.

“It is common for dictatorial regimes to oppose change by any means. But the history in Libya, Egypt and even our own liberation struggle tells us that nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.

“The courts are doing well by following the law and the constitution and the regime is in denial. Change is here and the earlier they wake up and smell the coffee the better. Otherwise they will go the way many such regimes have gone,” Saungweme said.

Nera convener Didymus Mutasa also threw his weight behind the Tajamuka/Sesijikile shutdown, saying he was not averse to working with them.

“As Nera, we welcome them in the fight against Mugabe even though I have not personally met them. We also support their own initiative in that regard because that is what we are all yearning for,” he said.

This week’s two planned protests actions come in the wake of a worrying tendency by the government to ignore court rulings, as was witnessed on Friday when police stopped a Nera march despite the High Court having barred Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo and all law enforcement agents from interfering, obstructing or stopping the demo to press for much-needed electoral reforms ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections. daily news

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