Burning, looting as MDC-T youths run riot
“We have already identified some of the culprits and we are looking for them. The conveners will also be arrested for inciting violence.”
She said several people yesterday visited Harare Central Police Station to report on the damages that had been done on their property.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba assured the people that the police would remain alert on the ground to thwart any criminal activities.
“Imagine a country where the police is not allowed to maintain law and order, there will be chaos. Police are there to maintain law and order and we want to assure all peace-loving Zimbabweans that the police are doing their level best to restore normalcy,” she said.
Choppies managing director Mr Siqokoqela Mphoko, said he heard from his manager that a group of youths raided their Nelson Mandela branch and ransacked the shop.
“I am currently in Bulawayo, but what I heard from my manager is that a group of people went to the shop and ransacked it. They broke two till points and two computers.
“They also looted alcohol and destroyed stock. A woman who was also shopping was beaten up. The total value is more than $12 000,” he said.
Mr Mphoko said it was very unfortunate that some of these rowdy youths were targeting Choppies, which had been creating employment countrywide.
“As you know, we have a partnership with Botswana and what we are doing is to create jobs. People are also coming in to invest in the country and for this to happen, it’s a sad thing,” he said.
ZBC acting chief executive officer Mr Patrick Mavura, said their vehicle was burnt by the youths while dropping off staff along Julius Nyerere Way.
“The driver told me that he stopped at our pick up or drop off point, to drop off some of the staff and had his window open. During the process, there were some youths that were stoning cars and he was hit by a stone,” he said.
He said the driver used the passenger door to escape since he could not drive off the vehicle as there were passengers who were still disembarking.
Mr Mavura said the youths approached the vehicle and opened the bonnet before stashing some cardboard boxes, which they lit resulting in the vehicle catching fire.
He said they later sent their transport and security crew to tow away the shell to Pockets Hills.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president Mr Michael Chideme, condemned the burning of the ZBC truck and thattack of some reporters.
“Zimbabwe Union of Journalists condemns any form of intimidation on news reporters and in this particular case, we strongly condemn the burning of the ZBC truck and the beating up of freelance journalist, Lucu Yassani by the police today (yesterday).
“We call upon political leaders, community leaders and leaders of demonstrations to restrain their followers and to educate their followers on the importance of a free and diverse press,” he said.
“We also expect the leaders of a demonstration to issue a statement condemning the barbaric act and, we also expect the police to apologise to Yassani and the journalism fraternity because an injury to one is an injury to all.”
Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri recently said the force would not hesitate to use “force on rogue” elements bent on disturbing peace and tranquility in the country.
He said those who wanted to cause disorder in the country should not cry foul and label the force as “brutal” when they enforced peace.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu, yesterday dismissed the allegations that their youths were behind the looting and burning of vehicles.
“Our youth assembly is the most disciplined and wellbehaved of all political parties in this country. Those (behind the skirmishes) are infiltrators and other state agents who were causing mayhem.
“The police, however, should never use heavy-handed tactics. We urge them to abide by what is set out in the Constitution. The police should not be trigger happy. They should not be teargas happy,” he said.
Early this month, scores of people were injured, while property worth thousands of dollars, including vehicles, was damaged when shadowy groups, civic organisations and MDC-T supporters ran amok during demonstrations against the proposed introduction of bond notes and unemployment in Harare.
United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Harry Thomas Jr and his French counterpart, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse, were accused of having a hand in last month’s disturbances in Harare and Bulawayo.