Harare blames Western envoys for unrest as security forces put on alert

September 1, 2019
| Report Focus News

According to Zimbabwe home affairs minister Cain Mathema, Western envoys in Zimbabwe are fomenting unrest in the country as security forces go on high alert for protests this weekend planned by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

“The government of Zimbabwe is disturbed by the activities of some diplomatic missions in Zimbabwe, who are engaging in local politics and clearly showing open support for opposition parties in the country through various activities,” the minister said.

“We are concerned by the security implications of these diplomatic missions’ interference and visits to private residences of some opposition political party leaders under the guise of diplomatic engagements.”

US ambassador Brian Nichols has been singled out for “plotting demonstrations against President Emmerson Mnangagwa”, a charge the US embassy in Harare dismisses as false, the East African reported.

The MDC had planned earlier in the month to hold a series of demonstrations in five cities, protesting the country’s deteriorating economic situation. However, they were banned on the grounds that police had intelligence that they would turn violent.

On August 16 protesters who gathered in the capital Harare to hold one such protest were brutally dispersed by police.

Subsequently envoys from the EU, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, the UK, Australia, Canada and the US ambassadors in Zimbabwe issued a joint statement condemning the crackdown in Harare and called for Mnangagwa to respect freedom of speech and assembly.