Govt must act to stop sense­less demos

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

WE find the con­duct of op­po­si­tion Move­ment for Demo­cratic Change youths who went on the ram­page de­stroy­ing prop­erty, loot­ing shops and burn­ing ve­hi­cles dur­ing a demon­stra­tion in Harare on Wed­nes­day to­tally ab­hor­rent, un­called for and against the let­ter and spirit of peace­ful protests.

Zim­babwe is a con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy with the right to protest en­shrined in Sec­tion 59 of the supreme law but this should be done in an or­derly and peace­ful man­ner. When protests turn vi­o­lent, they im­pinge on the rights of oth­ers and law en­force­ment agents have to act to pro­tect in­no­cent peo­ple and prop­erty from hood­lums and other mal­con­tents bent on brew­ing chaos and an­ar­chy in the coun­try.

We re­ported yes­ter­day how hordes of MDC youths burnt two pick-up trucks be­long­ing to the Zim­babwe Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion and the ZRP to shells be­fore loot­ing shops in­clud­ing a Chop­pies Su­per­mar­ket along Nel­son Man­dela Av­enue where they stole whisky and other al­co­holic bev­er­ages dur­ing an il­le­gal demon­stra­tion against al­leged po­lice bru­tal­ity. The protesters in­tended to hand over a pe­ti­tion to the Min­is­ter of Home Af­fairs but ended up en­gaged in run­ning bat­tles with the po­lice who were keen to re­store or­der to a sit­u­a­tion that had gone out of hand.

We de­plore in the strong­est terms the chaotic scenes which en­gulfed Harare and urge au­thor­i­ties to come down hard on the per­pe­tra­tors of the vi­o­lence. We con­tend that the pa­tience of the po­lice has been stretched too far and it is time they stood firm in en­forc­ing law and or­der and put an end to a cul­ture of law­less­ness and im­punity which seems to be tak­ing root in the coun­try.

Zim­babwe can­not be al­lowed to de­scend into an­ar­chy and chaos of the scale which could ren­der the coun­try un­govern­able. That is a fright­en­ing pos­si­bil­ity and one which should never be al­lowed to hap­pen in our life­times. We have watched with in­ter­est as op­po­si­tion groups have been goad­ing and taunt­ing our se­cu­rity agen­cies over the past few months with a se­ries of protests against one griev­ance af­ter an­other but it seems the ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive is to un­leash ter­ror and may­hem to pre­cip­i­tate the un­con­sti­tu­tional re­moval of a le­git­i­mately elected Gov­ern­ment.

The coun­try has been in protest mode for some time now and the ar­chi­tects of the demon­stra­tions ap­pear to have been test­ing the fron­tiers to see how far they can go with their grand de­signs. First, they torched a Zimra ware­house and de­stroyed prop­erty dur­ing a vi­o­lent protest in Beit­bridge be­fore em­bark­ing on a se­ries of vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions in Harare and Bulawayo. Last week, a demon­stra­tion against bond notes turned vi­o­lent in Harare while a foot­ball match be­tween High­landers and Chicken Inn was hi­jacked by some el­e­ments who ended up beat­ing a po­lice­man within an inch of his death at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium.

Clearly, the spon­sors of this ter­ror be­ing un­leashed on the peo­ple of Zim­babwe are not sat­is­fied with the chaos they have brewed and are keen to see more blood­shed and the col­lapse of the Zim­bab­wean State.

We have on oc­ca­sion, cau­tioned against po­lice heavy hand­ed­ness in deal­ing with protests as we rea­soned that this plays into the hands of an­ar­chists and hood­lums who take ad­van­tage of the chaos to loot and com­mit crimes. How­ever, fol­low­ing the lat­est vi­o­lence which en­gulfed Harare, we feel a red line has been crossed and the law should be ap­plied to any­one found on its wrong side.

Surely, if the in­ten­tion was to hand over a pe­ti­tion to Min­is­ter Ig­natius Chombo, why em­bark on an orgy of vi­o­lence in the city cen­tre and put the lives of peo­ple go­ing about their busi­ness in dan­ger? Do you re­ally have to torch a ZRP or ZBC truck to get your point across? Do well mean­ing de­mon­stra­tors push­ing for an end to al­leged po­lice bru­tal­ity loot cases of whisky and other al­co­holic bev­er­ages from su­per­mar­kets or this is the work of lumpen el­e­ments paid to un­leash chaos?

We are per­suaded to agree with those who see what is hap­pen­ing in Zim­babwe as part of a grand plot to ren­der the coun­try un­govern­able and push for a so-called Na­tional Tran­si­tional Au­thor­ity. Th­ese demon­stra­tions are meant to put Zim­babwe on the agenda of the up­com­ing Sadc Sum­mit in Swazi­land next week and the 71st United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly next month.

We im­plore Zim­bab­weans who are be­ing paid to de­stroy their coun­try to pon­der the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of their ac­tions and put their moth­er­land ahead of a few trin­kets. We be­lieve the best way to re­solve the coun­try’s prob­lems is through di­a­logue and Gov­ern­ment has al­ways said it stands ready to en­gage any Zim­bab­wean on is­sues af­fect­ing the coun­try. We also cau­tion against any at­tempts to un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally re­move Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe as the na­tion’s se­cu­rity arms are equipped and ready to de­fend the coun­try’s hard won in­de­pen­dence, ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and sovereignty.

Elec­tions are due in 2018 and those en­ter­tain­ing am­bi­tions of lead­ing this coun­try should bid their time and throw their hats into the ring then.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.