Zimbabwe Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri had dismissed threats by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to embark on mass protests to force President Emmerson Mnangagwa to step down or call early elections as empty threats aimed at disrupting government programmes and drawing international attention.
The MDC, which held in its congress last month and elected Nelson Chamisa as it leader, has threatened to stage mass protests to force Mnangagwa to step down, call early elections or form a transitional authority because 2023, when the next elections are due, is too far.
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front youths have warned the MDC that they would not stand by and watch the country being derailed.
MDC youth leader Obey Sithole said ZANU-PF youths had no capacity to stop them.
“I have come across their claims, but let me categorically state that it is misplaced and misleading for one to think they can stop an idea whose time has come. ZANU-PF has no locus standi to stop a people’s demonstration, let alone speak about it,” he told Newsday.
“We are definitely unmoved by such threats. We will not betray the people of Zimbabwe; we shall continue pursuing our path to power until freedom comes.”
Muchinguri Kashiri said the threats were just a way of trying to maintain relevance in the country’s political life away from elections.
“I do not read too much into threats of violence by the opposition political outfits and their allies,” she told the Sunday Mail.
“My view is that threats are aimed at disrupting government programmes and drawing international attention in order to maintain political relevance in the country’s political life away from elections.
“Government should, therefore, not be distracted from its programmes and developmental activities by attention-seekers trying to keep our country in a perpetual election mode until the next general election in 2023.
“The state of the country’s situation is, therefore, peaceful in spite of the isolated cases of politically motivated violence and social media-driven threats.”