Mugabe launches “sanctions” misinformation campaign

bob_mugHARARE - President Robert Mugabes mis-informed anti-sanctions crusade swings into full gear with a planned million men march expected in Harare on Wednesday. (Pictured: President Mugabe)

Zanu PF youths were on Tuesday busy mobilising residents in Mbare and other townships advising people to take part in the march.

President Mugabe is expected to officially launch the campaign at an open ground outside the Glamis Arena near the new Interpol offices at the western end of Harare.

The campaign, according to Zanu PF, is expected to see at least two million signatures appended on the anti-sanctions petition.

As of Wednesday party youths had embarked on a door-to-door campaign in Mbare advising residents and market stall owners to join in the campaign to denounce sanctions by deserting their businesses for President Mugabes launch.

Wednesdays event is believed to be the first phase of the campaign, while people are expected to append signatures in the second phase and finally the third phase will include presentation of the sanctions signatures to Western embassies.

The targeted sanctions were imposed by the United States and the European Union to arm-twist President Mugabe to return the country to democracy.

President Mugabe however accuses the West of attempting to effect regime change to reverse the land reform programme and thwart the black economic empowerment drive.

In a full-page advert placed in the state-owned Herald newspaper yesterday, Zanu PF said the sanctions had resulted in the decline of the economy, the non-availing of lines of credit, the negative international perception of the country and the fall in the standards of living of Zimbabweans.

It is thus a responsibility of all political parties and all patriotic Zimbabweans to take a stand against these illegal sanctions by signing the anti-sanctions petition, read an advert placed by the Zanu PF information department.

Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu, who is also Zanu PF political commissar, said the march was a national event.

This is a rare opportunity for all of the people of Zimbabwe, irrespective of colour, creed or political affiliation, who have been affected by the illegal sanctions, Shamu told the state media.

People of various political and religious affiliations are free to turn out in their respective regalia.

However, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube said their parties would not take part in the campaign.

Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirais spokesperson, said the march was a Zanu PF programme.

If its a government event, it should have been deliberated in Cabinet and the Council of Ministers. It has been peddled as a party thing and therefore cannot be government business, he said.

All we see are Zanu PF-sponsored adverts on government letterheads so it cant be the position of the inclusive government.

The Ncube-led MDC said they would not be attending the launch of the anti-sanctions campaign accusing Zanu PF of insincerity and continued human rights abuses.

The MDC will never go to bed with agents of Lucifer, Kurauone Chihwayi, the partys spokesperson, said.

Release (Douglas) Mwonzora, (Munyaradzi) Gwisai and others now for us to speak with one voice on sanctions. We view the event as a Zanu PF project.

Zanu PF is a selfish party with a scandalous history not worth emulating, Chihwayi said.

Mwonzora is in remand prison for allegedly spearheading violence in Nyanga North while Gwisai is facing treason charges arising from allegations he attempted to stage an Egypt-style revolution in Zimbabwe.

The million men march takes place amid tight security in Harare where civic society groups are planning protest marches against the resurgence of political violence.

The civic society groups say the country should not go to the polls this year because the environment is not conducive.

Police and the army have put on a show of force in Harare as calls for protests against the inclusive government went unheeded.

Armoured military vehicles, trucks of riot police and water cannon vehicles have since Saturday been patrolling the streets in Harares high-density suburbs.

Security forces and armed police maintained a heavy presence in Harare on Tuesday with the police mounting roadblocks on major roads leading into the city where they conducted body searches on commuters.

Police mounted a roadblock along Samora Machel Avenue, opposite the Harare Exhibition Park, where they stopped and searched vehicles and also frisked drivers and passengers.

Similar roadblocks were mounted along Chitungwiza Road, Mutare Road and other major roads.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he was unaware of the roadblocks

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