Burn­ing, loot­ing as MDC-T youths run riot

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

“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.

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