Government has defended its decision to deploy state security agents into the streets, saying it was aimed at guarding against a regime change ploy by those pursuing subversive threats against the country.
This was in response to international condemnation, the Emmerson Mnangagwa administration has been receiving over its recent crackdown on opposition and civil society leaders accused of participating in the shutdown protests that engulfed Zimbabwe two weeks ago.
In her presentation in the United Kingdom parliament on Wednesday, one of the leading legislators against the Mnangagwa regime, Kate Hoey urged her government to suspend re-engagement program with Zimbabwe because of recent human rights violations perpetrated by members of the security forces.
Hoey pleaded with the international community including the United Nations to speak against military deployment in the streets saying it is against the international laws.
However, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, in an exclusive interview with 263Chat late Thursday, said the government is not taking lightly threats posed against its sovereignty charging that the military has been deployed to support the police.
“There is no undeclared State of Emergency in Zimbabwe. Security concerns are intelligence led some of which cannot be disclosed to the public because of their sensitive nature. When there are joint operations between the Police and the Military, the police leads the command and the military plays a supportive role.
“Security Operations always reflect the level of the threat. Currently the subversive threat against our country and its institutions has been heightened. There is a serious regime change plot against Zimbabwe and the security forces have to respond in accordance with the level of that threat.
“As I said to your previous question, deployments and stationing of security apparatus depends on the level of threat. These are not decisions taken lightly. The current security arrangements are in place to safeguard the safety of citizens and property,” Mutsvangwa said.
When reached for comment, the opposition MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume described the government’s response as an ‘infantile narrative’ saying the labor unrest will not be ended by force lamenting the country’s fall into a totalitarian state.
“This type of unrest is not peculiar to Zimbabwe .When you then detain labour leaders, civil society and opposition for striking or protesting as the case maybe .You have become a totalitarian state .No matter how many security briefs you leak and how many hushed tones you speak in the world will not be fooled The population will be surprised by you heavy handedness and continue to be unhappy.
“The international relations agenda is now in part driven by what happens in the domestic arena. Imagine the trouble the Saudi Arabian government got into over one journalist. In Zimbabwe it would appear dozens are dying every quarter. It is unsustainable and very few countries would want to be said they are friends with such a government,” Mafume charged.
The government’s bid to get a readmission into the Common Wealth is now up in smoke as Zimbabwe makes headlines on human rights violations with United Kingdom reportedly regretting endorsing President Mnangagwa.