HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has issued a thinly veiled threat to medical doctors and legal professionals whom he accused of being accessories in last month’s stayaway that turned violent.
Talking at a Zanu PF “thanks” rally, Mnangagwa stated rioters had been buoyed by medical doctors and legal professionals as they went about looting and burning private and non-private property.
“They informed them that if anybody will get arrested, they need to go to a certain place, there are legal professionals ready to defend them. If anybody will get harm, they need to go to a certain place, there are medical doctors ready to treat them,” he stated.
Now the medical doctors and legal professionals are in his sights.
“We are actually going after these medical doctors who had been involved in these actions.
“These legal professionals that had been inciting violence, we are actually going after them. So those that select violence, we’re ready,” Mnangagwa informed the Zanu PF crowd.
In accordance with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), an estimated 1,100 individuals had been arrested – 441 in Bulawayo and 249 in Harare, whereas Midlands province recorded 201 arrests, with the remaining coming from different areas of the nation.
No less than 700 have appeared in court represented by lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
After the general public riots, the Law Society of Zimbabwe – an umbrella body for all legal professionals working within the nation – held their very own protest in opposition to the alleged abuse of rule of law by magistrates during trial of those arrested in reference to the January 14 disturbances. The lawyers claimed the judiciary was captured and demanded its independence.
President Mnangagwa, on the same rally, claimed the MDC Alliance and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had been getting ready for a second round of riots. The state was prepared for them, should they go forward, he stated.
“We are going to sort them out. People who need peace, stay at home, in order that we take care of those who want violence,” he roared.
Mnangagwa urged locals in largely Zanu PF strongholds to report unruly parts to local leadership.
“You understand one another at every village, when strangers come, inform the leaders in your area, the village headman, so we all know the aim of the visits,” he stated.
Chiefs are widely accused of being Zanu PF auxiliaries.
Mnangagwa’s hardline stance comes at a time when the Southern African Development Community’s current chair, Namibian President Hage Geingob, last week put the bloc’s weight behind him with a press release claiming that NGOs had been pushing a destabilising agenda in Zimbabwe.