AFRICA/ZIMBABWE - The army warns that it is ready to repress dissidence in the streets and on the web

Friday, 5 August 2016 human rights  

Harare (Agenzia Fides) - The army is ready to take to the streets to repress unrest and to combat "the detractors of our Country who use electronic means to mobilize the population to commit illegal activities". This is what Lieutenant General Philip Valerio Sibanda, commander of Zimbabwe said in an interview with the government newspaper The Herald.
According to the General some foreign embassies are involved in the sponsorship of violent demonstrations of the opposition, which are sometimes harshly repressed by the police. The last in order of time was on August 3, violently repressed by police with batons and tear gas.
The army commander made explicit reference to social media used to organize demonstrations, stating that it is "a form of cyber warfare" to which the military is prepared to face.
It is a clear reference to the movement #ThisFlag Evan Mawarire, a Protestant pastor, who uses social media to invite the population to go on strike and take to the streets against the government of President Robert Mugabe and the most serious economic and social crisis that the Country is experiencing (see Fides 12/07/2016). The army commander’s stance is significant because two weeks ago the veterans of the independence war denounced the "dictatorial" behavior of Mugabe and asked to address the issue of the old (92) President’s succession. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 05/08/2016)