THE pending July 31 demonstrations by the combined force of political parties and civic organisations has thrown Zanu PF into quandary, crude statements by Patrick Chinamasa on Monday while addressing journalists at the party headquarters in Harare appear to suggest.
Chinamasa is the current Zanu PF party national spokesperson and was at one time Justice and Parliamentary Affairs minister in the late former President Robert Mugabe’s government.
At the Monday press conference, Chinamasa, using media to propagate the Zanu PF view was at it, clearly fomenting trouble after he openly encouraged both the security forces and Zanu PF supporters to take violence to the July 31 demonstrators:
“Zanu PF calls upon our supporters, cadres and sympathisers, wherever you are, to remain alert and ready to defend yourselves; defend our people, their property and most importantly, defend peace in your communities against these malcontents; these hired hooligans and hoodlums who rejoice at burning properties and looting.“
The former Justice minister did not end there:
“They must know that when they are being attacked, law enforcement agents might not be near. In those circumstances, their first line of defence is themselves and their families. They have a legal and constitutional right to defend themselves.
“Don’t ask for permission from anybody; it’s your constitutional and legal right.
“Don’t be intimidated by hooligans and mercenaries. Don’t be like sitting ducks as you were in August 2018; don’t be sitting ducks as you were in January 2019, phoning us (to ask what you should do).
“No, this time no. Use any means at your disposal to defend yourselves.”
But sections of Zimbabwe have accused the former Justice minister, Chinamasa, of amnesia.
“Chinamasa should remember that when he was floored by the former Chimanimani South MP, Bennett, he shed tears as he tried to make the case for Bennett’s incarceration,” Francis Sidovo, a Glen View 1 resident, said.
In 2004, the then Zanu PF legislator, Chinamasa, ate humble pie after he was publicly assaulted in Parliament by Bennett.
The attack on Chinamasa came after the former Justice minister racially slighted Pachedu (Bennett)’s ancestors, accusing them of stealing the land Mugabe’s government was at the time expropriating from white commercial farmers under the country’s controversial 2002 Land Reform Programme.
“I am a person, I have feelings and [after] the vehement, personal, racial attack that Chinamasa was making against me, I saw red and reacted,” Bennett told the BBC’s Network Africa then.
But Chinamasa maintained he had been wronged, saying Bennett had targeted him for advocating the take over of white land by the landless black indigenous people.
But many people are questioning why Chinamasa – himself a former Justice minister and extra judicial victim of “thrashing” at the hands of the late Bennett – would now condone the use of violence on others.
“It is no mean evil for one to advocate for the perpetration of evils they would not permit on themselves.
“But this is not surprising at all with cowards like Chinamasa; they will always take a back seat while we – the ordinary people – kill each other for the consolidation of their political positions,” said a University of Zimbabwe political scientist who preferred anonymity.