Government has sent a strong warning to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change over statements made by its deputy chairperson Job Sikhala during a rally in Bikita when he said they will overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa before the 2023 elections.
Addressing party supporters in Bikita over the weekend, Sikhala said, “We are a committed leadership that will give Zanu PF headaches and [Amos] Chibaya was not lying or joking about the war and fight we are going to take to the doorsteps of Emmerson Mnangagwa. We are going to overthrow him before 2023 that is not a joke.”
However, in a thinly veiled warning to the outspoken opposition member, the government said it will take constitutional measures to deal with utterances.
“Every country under the sun has places for miscreants and we would not hesitate to make use of them to protect democracy and constitutionalism values which are highly esteemed in the New Dispensation.
“It is understandable that when before a crowd some get excitable and experience a rush of blood to the head. We urge them to demobilise that animal instinct and deploy their faculties located in the higher centres of their brains and embrace constitutional means of opposing the Government,” said government spokesperson, Nick Mangwana.
Mangwana said the undermining of legitimate authority is a serious crime.
“Trying to overthrow a Government is subversive and Government will not hesitate to deploy the security institutions to constrain such abuse of democratic tenets and maintain the constitutional order,” he said.
“Zimbabwe is a peaceful country and that peace is not accidental. That status of a peaceful country will be maintained by ensuring those that threaten democracy and the liberal values adopted by the New Dispensation are tried and if convicted, removed from society and put in places where they don’t pose a threat to the rest of civilised society,” he said.
Mangwana added that the utterances could have been a deliberate ploy to derail current re-engagement talks with the British Government.
“We don’t rule out a deliberate effort to provoke the authorities into enforcing the law so as to get negative international attention at the time when the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is meeting the British Foreign Minister as well as the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Scotland to advance Zimbabwe’s re-engagement and mainstreaming efforts. While we will not hesitate to enforce the law, we will not be baited to a predictable default,” he said.
The Zanu-PF youth league Sunday labelled the statement as treasonous and could lead to the arrest of Sikhala.
“When a person says they want to overthrow a constitutionally-elected President, they are committing an offence and they are threatening a coup, this will not be allowed in this country. We love our peace and it will be protected,” he said.
Gomwe-Nembudziya member of parliament Justice Mayor Wadyajena also said the utterance by Sikhala could be trying to provoke government and inviting arrests for the international community to see.
” We’ve seen this boring movie before. Treasonous language to invite arrests and international attention because donor wells have dried up. Old dogs need to stop living in the past & learn new tricks. Even Tony Blair has warmed up to
@edmnangagwa, ow requesting meetings,” he said.