In an address to the nation on Tuesday morning,President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday said “bad apples” who had tried to divide citizens and weaken his country’s systems would be flushed out.
In an address to the nation on Tuesday morning, Mnangagwa called for unity and patriotism to work towards rebuilding the country’s battered economy.
“Those who promote hate and disharmony will never win. The bad apples that have attempted to divide our people and to weaken our systems will be flushed out. Good shall triumph over evil,” Mnangagwa said.
He said “rogue Zimbabweans” were working with foreign detractors to scupper government’s work.
“The dark forces both inside and outside our borders have tampered with our growth and prosperity for too long. They have thrived on dividing. Let us embrace the call for patriotism, hard work, transparency, accountability, love, unity, and peace now it is the time to embrace opportunities before us with optimism and determination to transform our society,” Mnangagwa said.
On Friday, security forces were deployed to Zimbabwe’s two main cities, Harare and Bulawayo, to prevent anti-government marches called by activists over corruption and economic hardship.
Popular anger has risen over an economic crisis marked by inflation running above 700%, shortages of foreign currency, and public hospitals crippled by strikes and a lack of medicine.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, and novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga, were among five people arrested for inciting public violence after protesting in their neighbourhood.
Human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe said more were detained.
Mnangagwa said the protests constituted an “insurrection” by the opposition.
Meanwhile, trading resumed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on Monday a month after it was ordered to halt business by authorities scrambling to protect the country’s currency, the bourse chief said.
Scores were killed during a crackdown on the last major protests in January 2019.
Opponents said Mnangagwa was exploiting a COVID-19 lockdown to stifle dissent after he imposed an overnight curfew and restricted free movement last week.
WATCH: Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa addresses the nation