Weapons smuggled into Zimbabwe, says Mnangagwa, warning country is ‘under siege’

Tension is rising in Zimbabwe. Many citizens are living in fear and are fed up with the lack of political and economic transformation. Many critics of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his clique have been jailed, disappeared and found dead. “The brutal assault on political activists and human rights defenders who have had the courage to call out alleged corruption and demand accountability from their government is intensifying. The persecution of these activists is a blatant abuse of the criminal justice system and mockery of justice,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa, in July. Mnangagwa – believed to be a key player in genocide in the country in the 1980s – is hinting that his opponents are arming themselves. – Jackie Cameron

Zimbabwe’s stability ‘under siege’, security minister says

By Ray Ndlovu

(Bloomberg) — Zimbabwe’s security and stability is at risk as the main opposition and civil society stoke unrest, National Security Minister Owen Ncube told reporters in the capital, Harare on Monday.

The main opposition, Movement for Democratic Change, civil society organizations, churches and Western countries are among the “internal and external” threats working to unconstitutionally topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, he said. The state is also aware of plans to smuggle guns into the country to arm militia groups.

Zimbabwe is “under siege,” Ncube added. “We are watching the environment very closely.”

Zimbabwe’s two-decade economic collapse has deepened with inflation at more than 750% and the country’s currency collapsing. Public anger over intolerable living conditions spurred protest action that’s been brutally quashed by the military.

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“The MDC is a non-violent party, created to fight for political power through democratic means,” Charlton Hwende, the party’s secretary-general said by phone on Monday. “This is an attempt to decimate the opposition further by the state by falsely accusing our people.”

Ncube’s unscheduled briefing is the second by a senior government official in at least four months, where a rift between Mnangagwa and his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga was denied. In June, the country’s top military generals pledged support for Mnangagwa and denied speculation of an imminent coup.

The state-owned Herald newspaper reported Monday that pressure groups had called for a two-day closing down of the Beitbridge border post, the inland port shared with neighboring South Africa.

“A blockade of borders is tantamount to a declaration of war,” said Ncube. “Government and state security agents have a duty to protect the integrity and flow of commerce across our borders.”

–With assistance from Antony Sguazzin.

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