Zimbabwe: Govt Warns Against Riotous Behaviour

Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko

Government has noted with concern the subversive messages circulating on social media inciting people to disturb the prevailing peace and stability by engaging in illegal activities such as looting, burning property and assaulting people going to work.

This was said by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa last night.

She said the Government reaffirms the Constitutional right of citizens to demonstrate or petition peacefully as well as to have the freedom of conscience, but said the right does not extend to forcing others to partake in "activities against their wishes as well as disrupting them from going about their business".

"Government has an obligation to protect all citizens including those who wish to carry on their daily lives undisturbed," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

"We therefore wish to assure the public that the security services will be ready to fulfil their constitutional mandate to maintain law and order as well as protect lives and property, from insurgent behaviour.

"Zimbabwe is known for its peacefulness and Government wishes to encourage all citizens to maintain that peace as they fend for their families."

The messages inciting people to engage in violent behaviour comes immediately after MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa has repeatedly called on his party supporters to effect illegal regime change.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Government understands and empathises with the current hardships experienced by the people.

She said safety nets are being put in place to protect the vulnerable from the pain "of the necessary reform we have to undergo".

"The President and the Government are fully aware of the many challenges facing our economy. They arise from decades of gross mismanagement.

"We are going through the overhaul of our economy so it can finally deliver the goods and jobs we all desire. The ongoing pains are a passing phase.

"The Government warns any bad apples in our business community to desist from cruel price hikes. It is immoral to create shortages and gauge prices in order to create discontent among the populace," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She said those engaged in industrial subversive activities will have themselves to blame when authorities react.

Minister Mutsvangwa added that Zimbabwe does not believe riotous behaviour and wanton destruction of property will change peoples' lives for the better, but "a resilient determination to push through economic reforms which are a necessary remedy to our economy will see us achieve our national goal of being an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030".

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