Zimabwe: Soldiers on the streets
Zimabwe: Soldiers on the streets
by Fungi Kwaramba
HARARE - Afraid of a Tunisian-Egyptian-Libyan uprising the government which many accuse of being anchored by a junta on Monday dispatched armoured vehicles with soldiers in full military gear in an effort to forestal any demonstrations.
Hordes of heavily armed soldiers, and anti-riot police disembarking from military vehicles were seen in the city centre Monday near Harare gardens. The presence of soldiers in the city centre has caused panic here as Zimbabweans know the military in this country does not hesitate brutalizing innocent civilians. Civilians who spoke to The Zimbabwean said that they no longer felt safe in the capital because of the presence of the dreaded Zimbabwe state security apparatus of violence.
Zanu PF, the former ruling party which has ruthlessly crushed dissent in the past is still in control of the army under the Government of National Unity (GNU). The presence of soldiers on the streets is enough to send shivers on the many survivors of Zanu PF terror. “I am now thinking of going back to my Water falls home and lock up my family because what I know for sure is that these soldiers are up to no good. They are serious, and they can do anything at any time, “said an identified citizen. Vendors near the gardens were seen packing their staff ready to flee in case violence erupted.
“We are wary of the soldiers. I am doubtful that today we are going to have any customers,” said a vendor. The move to deploy soldiers comes after calls last week by some exiled human right activists had warned of massive demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe’s regime on the 1st of March.
The human rights activists through emails said the demonstrationswhich should start from Harare at the Harare gardens and later spread to the entire country will only end when Mugabe resigns. “The protest is intended to demand the immediate cessation and an end to the dictatorial regime misruling Zimbabwe . In addition, the mass demonstrations countrywide will convey anger and concern about the suffering of Zimbabweans from brutal economic, military, political and social repression under the regime of Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980," said a spokesperson for the activists.
"Inspired by the revolution for democracy by the people of Tunisia and Egypt , Zimbabweans urge the pro democracy and freedom loving people across the globe to stand together and demand the immediate removal of Dictator Robert Mugabe and his cronies. Zimbabweans will demand:1) Robert Mugabe’s resignation, regime change,an end to political violence and all repressive policies,recognition and respect of the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association and the press,recognition and respect of the legitimate role of Zimbabwe human rights defenders and civil society activists and organizations and freedom, Justice, Fair Elections, Progress and Development,”read part of the email massege coming from exiled Zimbabweans.
ZANU(PF) secretary for legal affair and the country’s Defence Minister Emerson Mnangagwa last week warned that the army would not allow anti-government protests inspired by the mass revolutions that have occurred in Tunisia and Egypt during the past month. “Those who may want to emulate what happened in Egypt and Tunisia will regret. Everybody is warned to keep peace in the country," Mnangagwa told army officers in comments broadcast by the ZBC last week. A senior Zanu PF official, Mnangagwa is said to be one of the hard-liners allegedly blocking the consummation of the power-sharing pact.
Last week 46 human rights activists were arrested for plotting to oust President Robert Mugabe in an Egypt Tunisia style while they were watching the a video of the North African states on going demonstrations. They are facing treason charges and risk life or death sentence if they are convicted Thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets during the past 14 days to push for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak whom they accuse of repression and ruining the country’s economy during his 29-year reign.
Similar allegations have been leveled against Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.
Source: The Zimbabwean