Opposition MDC has blasted presidential spokesperson George Charamba for his statements placing responsibility to the party for injury or damage to property arguing that it was the duty of police to protect protestors.
In a statement, MDC said:
Our attention has been drawn to media remarks by Mnangagwa’s administration through George Charamba, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications), who also doubles as the Presidential spokesperson, who is reported to have said the “onus is on the MDC to ensure there was no injury to life and damage to property” during the people’s demonstration organised by the MDC for this Thursday against the administration’s failure to turnaround the deteriorating economic situation in the country.
The MDC notes with grave concern that Mnangagwa’s administration has in recent weeks been coming out in its full Stalinist colours with all manner of gestapo threats to citizens ranging from plans to illegally withdraw licences from retailers and pharmacies struggling to survive under impossible operational conditions created by the administration; to prosecution of citizens under medieval insult laws on outrageous allegations of undermining the authority of the President; to brutalisation of honourable Members of Parliament for not standing up to honour the President in Parliament.
There’s a de javu ring to this palpable Stalinist wave sweeping across the country to the detriment of the constitutional rights of the people. Zimbabweans have seen it all too many times over the last 38 years of Zanu PF’s entrenched misrule.
While Mnangagwa’s administration claims to be a Second Republic underpinned by new freedoms for the people, its Stalinist streak shows that it is just a Second-hand Republic in the same old order whose first hand was Robert Mugabe. Nothing has changed. In fact, things are getting worse as Stalinist tyranny becomes the order of the day.
Regarding the people’s demonstration set for this Thursday, Mnangagwa’s administration must respect the clear provisions of s59 of the Constitution which stipulates that “Every person has the right to demonstrate and to present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully”.
While, as always, the MDC is committed to a democratic and peaceful demonstration, there’s nothing in the Constitution or in any statute that places the responsibility for maintaining law and order on peaceful demonstrators or petitioners.
The Stalinist claim by Mnangagwa’s administration that “our laws place a burden on the organisers of that demonstration to make sure there is no injury to life, limb or property” is patently unconstitutional, false and sinister.
Section 219 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly and squarely places the responsibility of “protecting and securing the lives and property of the people”, and “maintaining law and order” on the Police Service which is required to discharge its responsibility by being “non-partisan, national in character, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by [the] Constitution”.
The sinister intentions of Mnangawa’s administration are betrayed by its unconstitutional and scandalous charge that, because the MDC has called for the demonstration, “…we [the administration] will assume that all demonstrators belong to them [the MDC].
So, we hold them fully and squarely accountable. They are liable jointly and severally.” Given the clear provisions of section 219 of the Constitution on who is responsible for protecting and securing lives and property of the people, these are the shameless views of a Stalinist administration that is going rogue.
Law abiding Zimbabweans have been forewarned that Mnangagwa’s administration is planning to infiltrate the demonstration on Thursday to threaten lives, security and property of the people as part of the administration’s unconstitutional and sinister intentions to deny the people their right to demonstrate and present petitions peacefully.
The people and international community should take note of the threats conveyed through Charamba and hold Mnangagwa’s administration accountable in terms of the Constitution and relevant international law.
The Onus is on the police to tell the MDC if there are people who want to infiltrate and cause commotion – that is why we notify the police in advance.
It is the same police that has to protect the MDC demonstrators from agent provocateurs who may be placed in our midst. It is them who are constitutionally enjoined to ensure every demonstrator is safe while they are demonstrating.
They must facilitate the constitution and not threaten or frighten us from demonstrating.
In any case, anyone who damages property has personal liability. Our intention in the demonstration are as contained in the letter we gave to them and ours is to peacefully demonstrate.
Anyone who does anything contrary to what we wrote is not part of us and it is therefore, incumbent upon the police to stop and arrest those particular individuals.