Harare: Zimbabwe authorities have vowed to deliver a ‘crushing’ response to any anti-government protests it charges are aimed at unseating President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
Opposition parties and labour unions are threatening mass protests over rising costs of living as the troubled country’s economy plunges further with inflation now topping 80 percent.
Teachers, nurses and doctors have since given Mnangagwa’s administration a notice to embark on strike over poor pay in the face of galloping costs of basic commodities and other goods.
Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema charged that planned anti-poverty protests are aimed at toppling Mnangagwa, before promising a ‘crushing response’.
“Anybody who agitates, therefore, against the Government or the President of this country legally, will be dealt with according to the dictates of our laws,” Mathema is quoted saying in the state media oblivious of the fact that the right to protest is guaranteed in the country’s constitution.
According to Mathema, the opposition and civic groups are working with hostile foreign elements to topple Mnangagwa who assumed the presidency following a November 2017 coup.
“Those who are actually here for subversion and those who are being trained outside the country, will face the full wrath of the law. I have no qualms about it. I am prepared to use the law as it stands in Zimbabwe,” he added.
In January, government deployed soldiers against civilians protesting a steep rise in the cost of fuel. Over a dozen civilians were shot dead during the protests.
The troubled southern African country is on edge over rising costs of basic commodities and other services as its local currency currencies takes a beating from inflation.