Zimbabwe’s Stability ‘Under Siege’, Security Minister Says

Zimbabwe’s security and stability is at risk as the main opposition and civil society stoke unrest, National Security Minister Owen Ncube told reporters in the capital, Harare on Monday.

The main opposition, Movement for Democratic Change, civil society organizations, churches and Western countries are among the “internal and external” threats working to unconstitutionally topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, he said. The state is also aware of plans to smuggle guns into the country to arm militia groups.

Zimbabwe is “under siege,” Ncube added. “We are watching the environment very closely.”

Zimbabwe’s two-decade economic collapse has deepened with inflation at more than 750% and the country’s currency collapsing. Public anger over intolerable living conditions spurred protest action that’s been brutally quashed by the military.

“The MDC is a non-violent party, created to fight for political power through democratic means,” Charlton Hwende, the party’s secretary-general said by phone on Monday. “This is an attempt to decimate the opposition further by the state by falsely accusing our people.”

Ncube’s unscheduled briefing is the second by a senior government official in at least four months, where a rift between Mnangagwa and his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga was denied. In June, the country’s top military generals pledged support for Mnangagwa anddenied speculation of an imminent coup.

READ MORE: After Two Decades of Rot, Zimbabwe Is Coming Apart at the Seams

The state-owned Herald newspaperreported Monday that pressure groups had called for a two-day closing down of the Beitbridge border post, the inland port shared with neighboring South Africa.

“A blockade of borders is tantamount to a declaration of war,” said Ncube. “Government and state security agents have a duty to protect the integrity and flow of commerce across our borders.”

— With assistance by Antony Sguazzin

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