Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Senior Reporter
THE Government has said it will not allow Tajamuka/Sesijikile pressure group to hold its planned protests as it has a record of violence.
Tajamuka/Sesijikile has declared 20 to 25 June as “the days for a total shutdown” as the group plans to lead protests across the country. However, analysts have since dismissed the group as being made up of hopeless attention seekers.
The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Cde Obedingwa Mguni, on Friday said while the Government recognises the constitutional provision of the right to protest, it will not let unruly elements abuse that right. Cde Mguni said the Tajamuka/Sesijikile group has a record of holding violent protests, thus the Government would not tolerate their planned protests.
Last year the grouping called for similar mass protests which flopped dismally, save for a few isolated chaotic scenes where Tajamuka/Sesijikile hooligans broke into shops and looted goods. Police arrested 95 people in Harare in connection with the isolated disturbances.
“Those people have a background of violence and hooliganism. Last year they broke into shops and looted goods. We will not give them a chance to hold their protest. Our Constitution recognises the right to peaceful assembly. Peaceful marches are allowed but we won’t allow unruly elements to abuse constitutional provisions,” said Cde Mguni.
He said the Government will have zero tolerance to the group’s threats. Cde Mguni said the Government has enough machinery to thwart any unlawful protests.
“We have enough machinery to stop any unlawful protests. We will stop them. We have strategies in place but we would not preempt them now. But I can promise that we will not tolerate any threats to the country’s peace,” he said.
Cde Mguni scoffed at the group’s threat to “shut down” the country. He said the fact that 65 percent of the country’s workforce was employed in the informal sector made it impossible for anyone to call for mass protests.
“How do they plan to shut down the country? Do they have the switch?” he quizzed.
“You know 65 percent of working Zimbabweans are in the informal sector. People are their own masters and they will not listen to anyone telling them not to go to work. Anyone who calls for such protests in Zimbabwe will be fooling themselves.”
Last year the Government warned against sending subversive messages and threats on social media. Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Cde Supa Mandiwanzira said such acts were a violation of the Postal and Telecommunications Act and those found on the wrong side of the law would be brought to book.
Tajamuka/Sesijikile used social media to call for its flopped protests last year and this year the group is using the same platform to peddle its propaganda. Social media networks like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter have of late been abused by merchants of violence as platforms to spread messages of violence and other criminal activities.