Kazembe made the remarks on Friday in Harare amid reports that the opposition intends to throng to the streets to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the state of affairs 41 years after Zimbabwe has attained independence.
The protests come amid worsening economic, humanitarian and political crises that are in turn deteriorating the citizenry’s living conditions.
Kazembe said the security sector was prepared to thwart the protests which he described as illegal. He said lockdown measures were still effective. He said:
My ministry has directed the Commissioner-General of Police (Godwin Matanga) to take action on some political activists, individuals and civic organisations being fronted by the MDC Alliance and have openly threatened to engage in a series of illegal demonstrations dubbed ‘The Winter Jest.’
The police and other security services will be on high alert and ready to defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. May I warn those who are planning and coordinating these illegal demonstrations that the law will take its course.
Local and internationally based organisations who are providing funding through individuals and the so-called civic organisations’ proxies are duly warned to stop fomenting disorder in the country and will be held accountable for any criminal acts perpetrated by groups who are obviously bidding for opposition political parties in the country.
The state previously blocked a number of MDC Alliance protests that had been scheduled to be in all major cities.
The police argued that it had gathered “concrete evidence” suggesting that the demos would degenerate into chaos.
MDC Alliance and some human rights defenders, however, argued that the said evidence was manufactured by the government as a pretext to ban the protests and to brutalise “peaceful demonstrators.”