Zimbabwe Defence minister Sekeramayi : We’re in full control
THE government is in full control of the country, defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi declared Tuesday as he dismissed reports claiming off-duty soldiers and police officers were joining protests against the administration.
Harare was rocked by violence last week as opposition parties and pro-democracy groups ramped up pressure against President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Police used tear gas, water cannons and baton charges last Friday to disperse protestors at a demonstration that had been sanctioned by the High Court, leading to violent clashes across the capital.
The opposition says it will reorganise the thwarted demonstration this week to press for electoral reforms ahead of elections due in 2018.
But as the administration appears rattled by the unrest, Sekeramayi insisted that the government was still in full control of the country.
He rejected reports claiming that soldiers, angered by delays in paying their salaries, were also joining the protests.
“There is absolutely no truth in those fabrications that soldiers have joined anti-Government protests,” the minister told State media.
“All the armed forces are standing solidly behind the Government. They will not take part in illegal activities that seek to remove a constitutionally elected Government.”
Sekeramayi claimed that opposition activists had taken to wearing army and police uniforms to give the impression that soldiers and police officers were also protesting.
“We also know that there will be so many people posing as soldiers,” he said.
“The opposition has been trying their best to get what will appear as camouflage of the Defence Forces in order to confuse people that they have teamed up.
“But the soldiers are not part of that. Government is in control because there is the police and the Central Intelligence organisation.
“They will expose this. There is no breakdown of law in Zimbabwe. The police have managed to contain the situation.”
And despite military helicopters could be seen hovering above the capital during last week’s demonstrations, Sekeramayi insisted that government never deployed the army to help quell the unrest.
“When soldiers are deployed everyone can see it. You don’t have to imagine,” he said.
“There is a wrong impression that is being created and purveyed through hostile media that things are very bad in Zimbabwe.
“But the truth is that the police have managed to control the situation.”