- Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has dismissed the allegations.
- This is not the first time that the Zimbabwean government has used this type of rhetoric against the nation’s opposition.
- The opposition sees the new message from the Ministry of the Interior as a possible pretext to end political dissent with impending repression.
The Zimbabwean government on Monday accused the country’s main opposition of having smuggled arms into the country in readiness for an alleged coup d’état against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration. The opposition has, in a quick rejoinder, categorically denied the accusation.
The president of the main opposition party, MDC Alliance, Nelson Chamisa, has dismissed the allegations, and insisted that their collective struggle for democracy and a better Zimbabwe is being fought for through constitutional and non-violent means. Chamisa wrote on his Facebook page, in an apparent response to the allegations:
“We bring ideas not weapons. Guns are not our language. Peace is our language. Our language is ideas, disruptive technologies and thought leadership to transform our beautiful Zimbabwe! We carry no swords, only words against dictatorship and bad governance in Zimbabwe.”
On Monday, Zimbabwe’s Interior Minister, Owen Ncube, said that the opposition in collaboration with “foreign powers” were planning to “lead Zimbabwe into chaos.” Ncube said “Zimbabwe’s security and stability is currently under siege from a number of threats being fomented by internal and external actors.”
“We are watching attempts to drive Zimbabwe into chaos. Some rogue elements among us are conniving with hostile western governments to smuggle guns and set up so-called democratic resistance committees that are for all intents and purposes violent militia groups,” he added.
He nonetheless didn’t substantiate his allegations, and declined to take questions from journalists after the news conference. This is not the first time that the Zimbabwean government has used this type of rhetoric against the nation’s opposition either.
In early August for instance, president Mnangagwa vowed to “flush out” the opposition, which he described as “rotten apples.” In a televised message to Zimbabweans from the Presidential Palace on August 4th, Mr. Mnangagwa condemned what he described as the “machinations of destructive, terrorist opposition groupings.”
“Those who promote hate and disharmony will never win. The bad apples that have attempted to divide our people and to weaken our systems will be flushed out. Good shall triumph over evil,” Mnangagwa said.
The opposition sees the new message from the Ministry of the Interior as a possible pretext to end political dissent with impending repression, and the statement is intended to be a justification.
The general unrest that has been witnessed across the country in the recent past is because of an economic and humanitarian crisis that Zimbabwe is facing, which was further exacerbated by the measures imposed to contain the COVID -19 pandemic.
Current inflation in the country is over 700%, while around six million of the 16 million people living in the southern African state are in dire need of humanitarian aid.
Mnangagwa, Another Mugabe?
The forceful ouster of the nation’s former autocratic ruler, Robert Mugabe, and subsequent ascension to power of Emmerson Munangagwa gave a ray of hope to Many Zimbabweans at the time, with many hoping that under the new administration, things would be better.
Many Zimbabweans are, however, currently of the opinion that under the Mnangagwa administration, there is literally nothing to smile about. Corruption, intolerance, and brutality remain the order of the day.
In many Zimbabweans opinions, the situation has remained the same, if not gotten worse, than during the Mugabe era.