PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday lashed out at the country’s judges for allowing demonstrations against his government by opposition parties and pro-democracy groups, saying there was a broader plot to topple liberation movements in the region.
The 92-year-old leader spoke in the wake of intensifying protests against his rule and claimed the opposition had been given huge sums of money to destabilise his government.
Mugabe, fresh from a secretive trip to Dubai, was addressing Zanu PF youth league national assembly meeting in Harare where he issued a chilling warning against judges that allow citizens to exercise their rights to protest against the government.
Mugabe’s rant came two days after police banned all demonstrations in the capital through Statutory Instrument 101a of 2016 issued by officer commanding Harare central district chief superintendent Newbert Saunyama, which the opposition parties are now challenging in the courts.
“We are happy that you [Zanu PF youths] have managed to restrain yourselves in the face of real provocation by the so-called protesters who have committed acts of violence,” he said.
“We can’t allow that to continue unimpeded. Enough is enough.
“I would want to say, we all as people of Zimbabwe, have a duty and obligation to ensure that there is peace,” Mugabe added, warning protesters against destruction of property.
Mugabe then launched a tirade against judges for passing judgments that allow protesters to proceed with demonstrations in the face of sanctions.
“Our courts and judges should understand it even better. They dare not be negligent in their decisions as requests are made by people who would want to demonstrate.
“Surely, they can take note of the fact that the mission is clear and deliberate towards causing violence,” he said.
“Four or two days ago there was violence and to grant permissions again thereafter when there is a probability of violence, is to pay reckless regard to the tenet of peace in the country. We hope they have learnt their lesson.”
Mugabe added that the country’s opposition,using funds from Western governments, was on a “destabilisation mood”.
“They want to make the country ungovernable. They want to push their undemocratic agenda to remove a constitutionally elected government.
“They want elections now but what’s wrong with 2018 when they are due?
“Even if they were to be held now, would they win?” Mugabe.
The veteran ruler claimed there was a broad opposition agenda funded by the west to destabilise southern Africa, “especially countries governed by former liberation movements”.
“Their masters are providing huge sums of cash to provoke conflict and instability in the region,” he said.
“Their aim is to replace liberation movements with pliant puppet regimes that pander to their needs because they have realised our people-oriented policies are a threat to their economic interests.
“The Zanu PF government will not be derailed by sideshows being pushed by spineless opposition parties. They have failed in the past 36 years.”
Zanu PF Youth League National Commissar Innocent Hamandishe in his address to Mugabe as part of a thematic committee on the state of the country had indicated the ruling party would crush future demonstrations.
“We have noted with concern the recent demonstrations and want to tell you that no protests will succeed in removing you from power,” he said.
“We, as the youth league, are now on standby and next time there is any such demonstration, we will take the law into our own hands to defend the party.”
At the turn of the century when opposition to his rule grew and the country’s judges passed adverse rulings against his party, in particular, the violent land expropriation, Mugabe used the same tactic, including war veterans who stormed the courts.
The move caused chaos within the judiciary, leading to the resignation and forced removal of respected judges at the time.