The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Monday deployed armed and plain clothed security officers to thwart any violent demonstrations, a move which has sent shivers across the nation.
This follows incessant threats by pressure group, Tajamuka to hold stay away and demonstrations across the nation as the economic and socio-political situation continues to deteriorate.
The Tajamuka, led by Promise Mkwananzi, last night sent messages on social media urging people to stay at home while warning those who would report for work with strong but unmade action.
He said if the demands are not met by the end of this week, the people will march to State House.
“Mnangagwa has two choices, (either) to resign or allow Zimbabwe to move forward or to convene an all-inclusive dialogue, encompassing all Zimbabweans with an independent mediator.
“If Mnangagwa does not respect the orders, the people of Zimbabwe will have no choice, but to come out of their houses on July 6 and march to State House in Harare. For other cities, we will advise where to assemble.”
This has prompted the police to man the streets in preparation for this massive industrial action.
However, with memories of the January protests which left more than a dozen people dead and several injured still fresh on people’s minds, early indications are that the stay away has been ignored as almost all shops were opened by the start of business on Monday morning.
As early as 6: am, heavily armed police would be seen milling the streets in major cities in Zimbabwe.
The government recently sent a chilling warning to the would-be protestors saying they would use force on those “found wanting”
The Tajamuka grouping, however, said the protests would go ahead.
“The shutdown is to pressure Mnangagwa to resolve the economic situation in the country,” Mkwananzi said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), which organised the January protests, has distanced itself from the week-long stay away.
“The ZCTU is not part of the group that has called for tomorrow (today)’s shutdown. As a membership-based organisation, we have to consult and get a mandate from our members in terms of our constitution and processes,” the union’s president, Peter Mutasa said.
This followed social media reports that the worker’s body was fronting the stay away to force the Mnangagwa regime to improve the working conditions of workers.
Mutasa however, said they would meet this week and find a way forward before engaging in industrial action.
“Our decision-making body, the general counsel, will be meeting this week to decide and announce the way forward, based on views from the workers. We are never against any citizen or groups that advocate for peaceful protests in terms of the Constitution of the country.
“However, unlike other groups, as a membership-driven organisation, ZCTU leaders cannot commit the organisation without consultations and an inclusive decision.
“It is in this vein that we view the inclusion of our organisation or any other organisation’s name without our consent and without discussing with us as problematic. For unions, this creates divisions as some members would genuinely complain that leaders are making unilateral decisions,” Mutasa said.