By A Correspondent- The ruling Zanu-PF party yesterday announced that it will use its parliamentary majority to tighten screws on civic society organisations and the opposition, whom it accuses of calling for more sanctions against its administration.
The West, notably United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK), have said they are considering more sanctions against President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government.
The US is looking at restricting local exports because of worker suppression by the government, while the UK is unimpressed by the worsening human rights situation and corruption cases involving Mnangagwa’s family.
Zanu-PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa told journalists during a party Press conference in Harare that they would respond to the measures proposed by the UK by piling pressure on “surrogate” citizens.
“Their (UK) threats to tighten sanctions on us at a time our government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is spearheading the President’s re-engagement and engagement strategy is regrettable,” Chinamasa said.
“If the British and Americans continue on that regrettable path, we will, through our Legislature, mobilise tough measures on their surrogates and sycophants here,” he said.
Chinamasa said the party would target the opposition and civic society through legislation.
“Our Parliament is ready and our people are ready. We are tired of being punch bags of this Uncle Tom politics,” he said.
Government has already started amending the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act to make it a criminal offence for private citizens to negotiate with a foreign government.
Chinamasa said the law would be used as a weapon to punish alleged “surrogates and sycophants of the West”.
“I thought I had already mentioned that the government is putting in place and debating legislation to hit the surrogates and sycophants and agencies who are among us, who are citizens of Zimbabwe … we have power over our citizens, our citizens should not commit treasonous acts,” he said.
Mnangagwa also announced during his speech on the official opening of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe that the Legislature will consider a Bill to regulate errant non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that do not operate in sync with government programmes.
“The British Parliament, where the blatant lies were made, among them that (suspended Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta) Rushwaya … is a niece of President Mnangagwa. They also insinuate that Henrietta was doing so supposedly on behalf of the First Family. This is not only a ridiculous claim, but one that makes us question the mental faculties of the so-called House of Lords,” Chinamasa said.
Zanu-PF believes there is an attempt by the UK to smear the name of Mnangagwa by fingering him in acts of corruption, looting and plunder.
“That was below the bar attempt to smear the global standing of our nation and President,” he said.
MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende said they were not worried about Chinamasa’s utterances because already, the ruling party was repressive against the opposition and NGOs.
“As far as we are concerned, we know that Zanu-PF has suspended the Constitution and any legality in Zimbabwe. Our members continue to be victimised without adherence to the Constitution and many are facing various charges. Whether they tighten regulations, it does not make any difference because Zanu-PF is an autocratic regime,” he said.
“We are going to fight them in the streets. It is our democratic right to do so. We are not worried by their pronouncements because in any case they do not follow the Constitution.”-newsday