By Dylan Murambgi
Harare, July 12, 2016 – HOME Affairs Minister, Ignatius Chombo has warned that any protests against the government would be crushed by police, saying they had enough manpower and machinery to deal with disturbances.
Addressing a press conference in Harare Tuesday evening, Chombo, who was flanked by the Minister of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi and State Security Minister, Kembo Mohadi, said that those who were calling for a mass stay away on Wednesday would face the full wrath of the law.
“The security situation currently prevailing in the country is generally peaceful, though there are individuals and groups that are calling for a repeat of events that unfolded last week,” Chombo said.
“Let me warn the instigators behind the intended protests that they will face the full wrath of the law.
“The ZRP, whose mandate is to protect life and property under section 219 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, will be out in full force to deal with any disturbances that may arise and protect the same.
“I assure commuter operators, businesses and places of work that they will be given full protection.
“Arrangements have been made for the provision of additional transport for commuters.”
Chombo said the police did not need any assistance from the army to deal with protesters as they were adequately prepared.
“It is in this context that foreign elements are being warned against interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal issues. We therefore remind these elements that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state whose decisions are made internally by Zimbabweans themselves,” he said.
Chombo defended police brutality against citizens saying sometimes it was necessary and insinuated that minimum force was not enough for some people.
“It’s a victim who is complaining that the police used maximum force, and you (journalists), intelligent as you are, believe the side of the victim.
“If there is evidence of any excess use of power, show me and I will deal with it quickly. Sometimes enough is not enough for a person to whom enough is too little,” he said.
He went on to defend police roadblocks, saying only those who drove stolen vehicles were afraid of roadblocks.
Chombo said those who wanted to demonstrate had to do it in terms of the law, saying while the government accepted the legitimate right of citizens to petition, they should be exercised peacefully.
“It is very clear in the Constitution what you should do if you want to demonstrate. But if you elect not to follow the law, the police have a right to protect the other law abiding citizens whose rights you are now infringing upon,” he said.