Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
TODAY Zimbabweans must shame merchants of violence and chaos by ignoring calls to stage violent demonstrations with the purpose of destabilising the country as part of a regime change plot by the opposition and their foreign handlers.

Having failed to win the 2018 elections MDC Alliance and its leader Mr Nelson Chamisa have been working with Western embassies to carry out his pre-poll threats to destabilise the country should his bid for the country’s presidency fail.

Upon realising that they had lost the 2018 polls, MDC-Alliance assembled its supporters in Harare and went on a violent rampage attacking people and destroying property leading to the death of six people.

In January last year, the MDC-Alliance also engaged in countrywide acts of violence looting businesses and destroying properties with Bulawayo being the worst affected.

Up to now, some businesses have failed to open because of the destruction caused by the MDC-Alliance violent demonstrations.

The desperation to effect regime change through violent means continues with the latest attempt to cause instability in the country today.

This time, Zimbabweans have the advantage of hind sight. It is on record that the attempts to seize power have been made by the opposition and its sponsors before and have failed just as they will fail today.

Importantly however, is the cost of those failed attempts on the ordinary citizens whose businesses have been destroyed by these merchants of violence.

Critically again, the planned violent demos have been planned at a time the country is grappling with the Covid-19 scourge with spiking cases standing at over 2 000 and deaths at more than 40.

Besides being a threat to peace and property, the illegal demonstrations are a threat to the health of the people as the opposition seeks to expose citizens to the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

President Mnangagwa on Wednesday said the planned insurrection, which can be linked to past schemes to destabilise the nation, such as the January 2019 protests and the August 2018 post-election violence, will not be allowed to happen this time around.

He said with the country set to remember its sons and daughters who paid the ultimate price to free Zimbabwe and bring about the obtaining peace, Zanu-PF was emboldened and inspired by the upcoming Heroes’ Day commemorations due in August and will defend the prevailing peace.

“We will equally defend our independence and sovereignty to the letter and not betray the fallen heroes and heroines who paid the supreme sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today. I want to warn the organisers of this ill-fated demonstration that our security services will be vigilant and on high alert to appropriately respond to their shenanigans.

“I urge all patriotic and law-abiding citizens to shun these malcontents and reject their divisive and ruinous plan,” he said.

“It must never be in doubt that the objective of these rogue Zimbabweans acting in cahoots with foreign appendages, supporters, and financiers, is to stage an insurrection to overthrow our democratically elected Government.”

The organisers of the illegal demonstrations have tried to sanitise their evil plot by peddling falsehoods that they enjoy the support of the military, claims immediately dismissed by Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander general Philip Valerio Sibanda.

“The Zimbabwe Defence Forces notes with concern the concerted efforts by some sections of the private media, which are bent on dragging the ZDF into their political scheming. This is evidenced by an online news item titled, “Military backing demo” published by Transform Zimbabwe on Chimurenga Radio on 13 July 2020.

“On the same day there was another publication by ZimEye in their article, ‘The army has been used to settle politics’ and that the ZDF and ‘other security structures are literally used to silence, remove and oppress the people of Zimbabwe in a bid to keep Zanu-PF in power.’

“Further to this scheming, ZimEye on June 5, 2020, claimed that the ZDF had helped the MDC-T, led by Thokozani Khupe to reclaim Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House, formerly Harvest House, from the MDC-Alliance,” said Gen Sibanda in a statement on Wednesday.

“These claims and assertions are the work of very fertile imagination of the authors of these articles, which members of the public should dismiss with the contempt they deserve. They are aimed at unfairly using the security establishment to drum up support for their planned illegal anti-Government protests.”

Yesterday the police called on Zimbabweans to carry on with their daily lives and not take part in the planned chaos by the opposition and its funders.

In a statement, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi urged members of the public to conduct their daily business in a peaceful manner and cooperate with the police and other members of the security services maintaining law and order in the country.

“All security arms of Government are on full alert and will deal decisively with any individuals or groups fomenting violence and sending threats or provocative messages through the social media or any other means.

“We reiterate that no demonstrations will take place in Zimbabwe on 31st July 2020. Those who decide or disregard the law, particularly National Covid-19 regulations will have themselves to blame,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.

He said the police is aware of various attempts to incite the public through the social media with one group calling itself “31 July Peaceful Demonstrations” threatening to burn a service station in Mvuma today and barricade the Harare-Masvingo highway and all roads leading to police stations.

“The group is led by group administrator with the cell number +27653302446 and has 249 group members with some claiming to be in possession of firearms. These will be regarded as terrorists.

“The security services are also aware of these groups that are spreading fake news that the security services are in support of the 31st July 2020, illegal demonstrations. These are blatant lies, meant to confuse the public, cause alarm and despondency in the security services,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.

“The security services remain resolute in defence of the country’s security and the safety of all Zimbabweans. The public is also urged to report any incidence of intimidation, incitements or threats to their nearest police station or members of the security forces who are conducting patrols in their local areas.”