Liberation movements plot against opposition parties

Zanu PF director of information Farai Marapira confirmed the liberation movements meeting in Victoria Falls

ZANU PF, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) and other regional liberation movements are meeting in Victoria Falls beginning today to craft strategies to push back the opposition parties onslaught to remain in power, NewsDay has learnt.

Zimbabwe, as the chairperson of Southern African Development Community (Sadc) liberation movements, is hosting the summit.

The summit is being attended by secretary-generals of Zanu PF, ANC, People’s Movement of Angola, SouthWest Africa’s People’s Organisation of Namibia, Botswana Democratic Party and Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania and Mozambique’s Frelimo.

The summit is a follow-up to a recent meeting held in Tanzania where the liberation movements vowed to forge closer ties against the opposition parties, especially during elections to ensure their continued hold on power.

“The meeting agreed to pledge solidarity with those sister parties whose countries will be holding elections during the course of the current year,” partly reads a communiqué released after the Tanzania summit.

The liberation movements have been known to sides with each other even in disputed elections.

The Victoria Falls summit comes ahead of the 44th Sadc summit to be hosted by Harare in August this year. President Emmerson Mnangagwa will assume the chairmanship of the 16-member bloc, taking over from current chair, President Joao Lourenco of Angola.

Mnangagwa assumed the Sadc deputy chair’s position during its 43rd summit held in Angola last month.

Zanu PF director of information Farai Marapira confirmed the liberation movements meeting in Victoria Falls saying: “They are coming to meet in Victoria Falls and discuss pertinent issues obtaining within the Sadc region and other issues affecting us as liberation movements.

“This summit will also see Zanu PF handing over the chairmanship to the ANC, which has been on a rotational basis. Because of COVID-19, the parties have not been able to meet.”

Marapira refused to shed more light on the agenda of the meeting.

“I will not say much because I do want to jump the gun,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Sadc preparatory team led by the regional bloc’s deputy executive secretary, corporate affairs, Judith Kateera, was recently in the country to assess Harare’s preparedness to host the summit.

The team visited the new Parliament Building, which will host the event, and also assessed some of the hotels that will accommodate delegates.

Police have also increased surveillance and patrols amid speculation of planned demonstrations by opposition figures ahead of the Sadc Summit in protest over Mnangagwa’s assumption of the chairmanship post.

Police have in the past week been ordering bars and nightclubs to shut down early, raising concerns of security threats in some high-density suburbs.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told NewsDay in an interview that the “deployments were normal” and policing would continue despite any event.

“Police have a mandate to maintain law and order in the country,” Nyathi said.

“The public has nothing to fear, especially those who are not committing any criminal acts. If bars adhere to their operating licences, there is nothing to fear.”

He added: “Criminals are taking advantage of bars that close late (to) pounce on houses or individuals. So we are trying to control such criminal acts. Policing has to continue on a daily basis regardless of any event.”


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