ZIMBABWE: PROTESTS/THE HERALD/21/1/19 ONE
HARARE – The authorities in ZIMBABWE say they have deployed security forces to ensure public safety following threats of another round of violent opposition protests in the country.
The announcement comes from Home Affairs Minister CAIN MATHEMA and Information Minister MONICA MUTSVANGWA, after angry demonstrators shut down most major cities and towns for the whole of last week.
The ZIMBABWE CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS this month teamed up with social groups like the TAJAMUKA and the #THISFLAG to organise nationwide labour protests to pressure the government.
Their move comes amid worsening economic conditions that have seen prices of most basic goods rising to out of the reach of the majority, although incomes have remained stagnant and unemployment remains high.
However, what was supposed to have been a peaceful work stoppage for THREE days to force the State to solve the worsening economic situation in the country turned very violent, with mobs blocking roads with large rocks and burning tyres.
The government has blamed the opposition MDC ALLIANCE, which it claims is working with the labour movement and the other groups – with sponsorship from Western powers – to force a regime change in the SADC nation.
Alliance Leader NELSON CHAMISA has dismissed the accusation, saying the demos are a result of mismanagement by the authorities and the announcement of fuel prices increases by the Head of State.
Mr CHAMISA claims the soldiers who the State deployed shot and killed more innocent civilians than the SIX victims of the AUGUST 2018 post-election violence his supporters provoked in the capital, HARARE.
He has told mourners at the funeral of ONE victim of the violence in the corridor city of CHITUNGWIZA his party is going to engage regional and continental authorities, as well as the UNITED NATIONS, for intervention.
THE HERALD says Home Affairs Minister MATHEMA and Information Minister MUTSVANGWA have pledged the government will deal firmly with lawbreakers focussed on property destruction and loss of life.
The State run newspaper says the Cabinet message comes after the alliance of political parties under the MDC flag, the trade unions’ federation and the social groups have threatened to carry out continuous violent demonstrations – beginning today, MONDAY.
It quotes ONE of the suspected organisers of the disturbances of last week, an official of the #TAJAMUKA outfit, as saying he has gone into hiding but is planning more protests.
PROMISE MKWANANZI allegedly says his team is mapping out their next move to force President EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, currently hunting for capital in EURASIA, to solve the national economic issues and remove bond notes.
Nevertheless, Information Minister MUTSVANGWA says the protests are not actions of demonstrations but machinations by people who are pushing for a violent regime change in the country.
She says the people who destroyed the property worth more than 300-MILLION US dollars across the country are hooligans, some of whom are in custody and face heavy punishment if convicted.
Minister MUTSVANGWA says there is what she calls a THIRD force in the operations, in which mobs reportedly set fire to more than 30 cars and buses, destroyed and looted shops, clinics, private homes, and even police stations across the country.
The authorities have since arrested more than 700 suspects, among them the leader of the #THISFLAG, EVAN MAWARIRE, for their alleged involvement in the violence and they are still looking for others.
They say they have also established security checkpoints to search people who may attempt to move their loot to rural areas, amid reports saying some of the suspects are dumping the stolen goods wherever they can in order to avoid arrest.
Meanwhile, there are reports saying the violence of last week also involved members of a notorious group that has terrorised people every election time in the western HARARE suburbs of WARREN PARK ONE and D as well as other surrounding areas.
Its leader, only named as VOYAGE, allegedly a well-known youth leader of the ruling ZANU PF, which has since disowned him, has reportedly been arrested after commanding teams that attacked residents with machetes, iron bars and an assortment of other weapons.
The groups, using unmarked FOUR-wheel-drive vehicles with no number plates, would pounce on anyone, beat them up brutally, grab phones, as well as smashing windows of parked motor vehicles and houses as they went.
Calm only written to WARREN PARK after armed police officers and soldiers deployed to clear the roads and hunt down the gangsters.
President MNANGAGWA says he has cancelled his trip to DAVOS, SWITZERLAND where he was due to attend the 2019 World Economic Forum so he can attend to the situation back home.
The ZIMBABWEAN Leader has made the statement from ASTANA in KAZAKHSTAN, describing his tour of RUSSIA, BELARUS, AZERBAIJAN and KAZAKHSTAN as fruitful./Sabanews/cam