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Chamisa and the third force, what's the next move?

04 Sep 2019 at 12:11hrs | Views
The MDC leadership is in a quandary after all of its lined-up protests were quashed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police last week. The demonstrations that were earmarked to take place in major towns of the country failed to take place after police blocked them for security reasons and failure to secure clearance.

In what became a chase run with legal instruments, the police emerged victorious in blocking the demonstrations through the courts. After being issued prohibition orders in all the towns it became clear that the party with the most legal minds in the country had been defeated in its own turf.

"Anyone who therefore participates in the demonstrations will do so in contravention of public order and security act and the law will take its course, the police will be conducting patrols, surveillance, stop and searches to ensure law and order is maintained in all areas of the country," warned police spokesperson Paul Nyathi regarding the Harare demonstration.

High court judge Joseph Musakwa issued a ruling against the demonstrations in Harare and this saw the police moving in heavily to crush any form of protests.

The MDC blamed lack of transparency and independence on the judicial system, while government has blamed the opposition party, for attempting to topple an elected government through protests.

"The constitution guarantees the right to demonstration … yet this fascist regime has denied and proscribed this right," said MDC vice president Tendai Biti.

In June this year Biti speaking at a SAPES Trust forum warned of an Armageddon if the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe was not attended to.

"We need a national transitional authority, we need a soft landing for our country, if we do not do that we are heading for an implosion, an Armageddon," said Biti.

Soon after Biti's Armageddon warning different building blocks were then activated towards the implosion. The Promise Mkwananzi Tajamuka/Isijikile shutdown was activated in July but failed to gather support as it was denounced by different worker's unions and opposition political parties.

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ through its official site warned its members against the call for the shutdown by Mkwananzi.

"We urge the public to be vigilant in guarding against disinformation campaigns meant to confuse. We're currently consulting our members and will communicate the way forward through our official channels," said ARTUZ in a statement.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union a worker union body also distanced itself from the shutdown. Police were on high alert and businesses went undisturbed.

During this time, Mnangagwa alerted Zimbabweans that those calling for shutdowns and protests were receiving money from enemies of the country, the president did not mention any person or organisation, but a fast forward to the recent move by American diplomats to visit MDC deputy chairperson Job Sikhala, on the night before the demonstrations on the 16th of August left a lot to talk about by the government.

"In their engagement with Sikhala, the American diplomats urged the MDC to go ahead with the demonstrations until their demands were met. They assured him that the US was watching the developments and would impose punitive measures should Government arrest or assault the protesters," said a source quoted by

The drama around the visit by American diplomats made the government worried, security bells were sounded as the government feared the Americans were operating a subversive plot to topple the government using the opposition political parties.

Nick Mangwana a government spokesperson would latter issue a statement against western countries warning against interference in the countries' administration and politics.

"Government of Zimbabwe expects those countries committed to supporting the freedom of expression, association and assembly – seen as facets for a politically stable, economic stable and prosperous Zimbabwe – to exercise impartiality and not to unduly interfere in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe in a way that promotes unrest and public disorder unless they harbor an ulterior motive," noted Mangwana.

Contacted by SADCnews, ZANU-PF Youth secretary Pupurai Togarepi said that some sections of the opposition political parties were now abusing section 59 of the constitution of Zimbabwe, which guarantees freedom to demonstrate peacefully.

"Our Constitution in Section 59 provides for the right to demonstrate and we believe that such rights in as much as they could be sacrosanct are not absolute that is why the Constitution also qualifies that demonstrations should be peaceful," said Togarepi.

Togarepi revealed that some regime change tactics were now evident in most demonstrations called for by the opposition with intentions to topple the Mnangagwa government.

"What we are against are violent demonstrations with nefarious intentions of removing a constitutional government, violent demonstrations under the false clock of peace will however not work because they do not serve the interest of the Republic but a few self-seeking and power mongering tea pot leaders of the so-called opposition," added Togarepi.

The United States Embassy spokesperson Stacy Lomba, denied that the diplomats were planning anything with Sikhala, and said it was the role of the American government to engage governments and political figures everywhere the country is stationed the world over.

"In Zimbabwe, as in every country in the world, US diplomats regularly meet with officials from the government, political parties and civil society organisations. This is part of their job. We do not support or give advice to any political party. We support the freedom of peaceful assembly, including through peaceful demonstrations, and all rights protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Zimbabwe's constitution," said Lomba.

Togarepi argues that the wining and dining by the western diplomats with the opposition political representatives was a sign that evil was brewing.

"While, we as the Zanu-PF youth wing would leave diplomatic missions to diplomats, when so-called diplomats wine and dine with violent mongers then you should know that there is an axis of evil, puppets and puppeteers, argues Togarepi.

After the abduction of comedian Gonyeti (Samantha Kureya), Mangwana released a government statement that blamed a ‘third force' in the abductions and torture of Zimbabwean citizens in order to discredit Mnangagwa's government. It was the first time the government revealed this third force plot to the public.

"This is the Third Force that we have reasonable grounds to believe to be in existence. Its hand in the incidences of the alleged violation of human rights, where established, cannot be discounted. The Police will leave no stone unturned in efforts to detect and act upon any violation of human rights," said Mangwana.

Could this third force be the one Mnangagwa was also accusing for funding shutdowns in June? Or could this force be linked to the move by the American diplomats' meeting with Sikhala, who is facing treason charges for saying "We're going to overthrow him (Mnangagwa) before 2023," in July.
Grace Kwinje, MDC Alliance's European Union representative based in Brussels in an article entitled ‘Time for MDC to change tactics," hinted that MDC has to go through the political accommodation route and engage Mnangagwa or use the radical militant approach through mass actions.

"There are two possible options, compromise by means of political accommodation or raise the tempo that is, establish a more radicalized uncompromising militant movement. This is against a background of a world that has witnessed some exciting historic moments when oppressed citizens, through mass action removed from power some of the vilest entrenched authoritarian regimes," proposed Kwinjeh.

It seems the failure by Mnangagwa and Chamisa to come to the dialogue table will thus leave Chamisa with no option but to take the more radicalized militant approach as espoused by Kwinjeh. This mass action or protest approach it seems, remains the best approach from the MDC think tanks.

Togarepi warned that the country was aware of this third force elements, some of whom are remnants of the G40 shadowy group, who are now working with the MDC, and other external forces, to operate militant mass actions to destabilize the country.
"You might be aware that a popular demonstration in 2017 on November 18 forced former President Mugabe out of office, an ambitious and corrupt faction that had hijacked the revolution found itself on the wrong side of history but you must be alive to the fact that those malcontents were not rooted completely, some are still lurking in the shadows waiting for an opportune chance to strike, we cannot rule out an unholy alliance between the decapitated G40 faction and the infantile and easily corruptible opposition, a third force is thus real and threat we are very much alive to," said Togarepi.

MDC spokesperson Molokele speaking to SADCnews, dismissed the third force theory propagated by Mangwana and Togarepi. He said the only third force is the government, the reason why the abductors are heavily funded and fully equipped.

"There is no third force, those responsible are clearly supported by the illegitimate regime. That's why they are heavily armed, that's why they have a lot of vehicles, that's why the police are still yet to arrest even one person," said Molokele.

As Chamisa ponders his next move, it should be noted that Zimbabwe's security sector has now been activated to hunt and search for the third force elements. This force, the government believes, is to blame for what it terms fake abductions, subversive demonstrations and anarchy.

With the legal route proving to be futile, it remains to be seen what Chamisa and the MDC has in store to push their agenda and force change in Zimbabwe.

Molokele insisted that the fight was still on and that the legal route was still possible in any future engagements.

"We are going to continue, no turning back, we will explore all available legal avenues," said Molokele.

Some supporters have blamed the MDC leaders for not leading from the front, and spending too much time in the courts whilst Zimbabweans were being harassed.

MDC president Nelson Chamisa said any confrontational strategy during the past protests was not possible.
"We didn't want to risk people's lives by continuing to be confrontational because if we had chosen to be confrontational there would be blood in the streets," said Chamisa.

Chamisa promised that a new mutated strategy was forthcoming without elaborating how he intends to mobilise the next demonstrations, if there are any.

"We will continue to mobilise but you are going to see is a mutation of our strategy because when facing a confrontational regime you must use tactics above them," added Chamisa.

Many supporters feel the legal route is taking long and that the government will always continue to defeat the MDC in this legal political game.

With the third force matrix now in play, government will likely expand its security presence and intelligence surveillance trying to expose the new shadowy force, which it suspect is working with the opposition political figures and some civil society organisations to topple Mnangagwa from power.

"Transport operators, both public and private, should not be used as destabilising agents in the country. Let me reiterate that anyone caught on the wrong side of the law will be dealt with without fear or favour. Vehicles used to promote lawlessness will certainly be impounded by the police. We urge members of the public not to take heed of retrogressive calls to join or participate in the demonstrations. Government in its entirety is working day in day out to improve the socio-economic situation in the country. Let us all support these efforts for the good of the country and promote peace in all corners of Zimbabwe," warned Minister of Home Affairs Cain Mathema.

Recently ZNA Commander Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo said the country's forces will not sleep around as both external and internal forces agents seek to destabilize the country.

"As security forces and guarantors of peace and security, we realise that the stability of the nation needs to be safeguarded from proponents of regime change who pride themselves in sowing seeds of disharmony and anger among our people, We will not be deterred from our constitutional mandate of defending Zimbabwe from both local and external forces of negativity, said Chimonyo.

Thomas Mukandi
SADC News Zimbabwe Correspondent

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