Opposition Zimbabwe People First party on Friday called on President Robert Mugabe to desist from intimidating political opponents and to rather uphold the country’s constitution which prescribed the unconditional enjoyment of civil and political liberties by citizens.
The opposition party claimed that revelations by Mugabe that he used to throw his opponents in underground dungeons during the war for liberation and his threats of extra-judicial incarceration of those opposing his rule could explain the disappearances of innocent citizens in the country.
“After Mugabe’s boastful revelation at his party’s headquarters on the 27th of July, the temptation that we now have is to believe that Mugabe’s revelation that he used to throw political opponents in some underground dungeons during war, explains even the disappearances that we witness today.
“We believe that Mugabe’s threats are not hollow, or just the rants of an old, tired and desperate leader. We are fully aware that there are citizens who have disappeared and up to now there is no trace of where they are being held, if they are still alive. Names that quickly come to mind are Rashiwe Guzha and Itai Dzamara because these were widely publicised,” Jealous Mawarire, Zimbabwe People First spokesperson, said in a statement.
Mawarire said the party was alarmed by Mugabe’s continued reference to his past human rights abuses to scare off those opposed to his rule, citing his threats to unleash Gukurahundi-style violence against war veterans who had openly criticised him in June this year, the threats against Pastor Evan Mawarire of the #ThisFlag campaign and the recent threats to incarcerate war veterans and other opponents in underground dungeons.
“What is worrying, and equally chilling, is that Mugabe is a head of state and government and commander-in-chief of the Defence Forces. He is the man with hands on the levers of coercive state apparatuses and his word is command to the security sector,” he said.
Mawarire said Mugabe should be measured by his words and how he used his power, adding that he should never resort to the use of brute force to deal with opposition to his incumbency.
He said what was worrying was that if Mugabe could be so brutal to members of his own party and fellow comrades, nothing would stop him from doing the same to his opponents and opposition political figures.
“We challenge Mr Mugabe, as the Head of State and Government and Commander-in- Chief of the Defence Forces, to realise that he is in his position, not because of the might of the army, police or any other security section that he wants to unleash on the people. He is President, though contestable, because of the vote by the people he now threatens with underground dungeons and other inhuman and dastard pogroms,” he said.
“No one should be arrested for telling Mugabe to leave office or criticising his incumbency, whether that person is a war veteran, vendor, church leader or politician.”