“We have arrested eight people so far, and two of them are Mbare criminals. We want to know more about the rest and the motive behind the looting,” said police spokesman Insp James Sabau. The state-controlled broadcaster interviewed the daughter of the late Zanu (PF) national commissar Elliot Manyika, Belinda, together with some women who claimed to be members of the Zanu (PF) Women’s League lamenting their loss at the Gulf complex.
Another woman who claimed to be a member of the Women’s League said the demonstrators were selecting Zanu (PF) shops to loot and she had lost laptop computers and cartridges. MDC secretary general Tendai Biti told a news conference: “The violence that we are seeing is not ordinary violence; its state-sponsored and state-engineered because the police are playing a role in marshalling the youths.”
Eye-witnesses reported that dozens of shops were looted when Zanu (PF) militia went on a rampage. Police stood by watching ordinary people and shop owners being abused and brutalised. Shops belonging to Zimbabweans were also caught up in the crossfire.
The mob, dressed in Zanu (PF) regalia, were chanting revolutionary and party songs and did not try to hide their identity. The marchers were carrying banners aimed against foreigners. Some of them read; No to foreigners controlling our economy and Foreigners, sanctions have destroyed our economy so we want to control our wealth.
An SW Radio Africa correspondent observed members of the CIO giving instructions to the youths. He said the attack on the capital was planned, because most of the perpetrators were given ample time to loot their goods and escape.
There were vans and Kombis that whisked the looters away from the Gulf complex. The CIO operatives held back the riot police until almost all the mob had left, he said.
The rowdy militia, led by the Mbare-based Chipangano youth, are housed at Carter House, a Harare city council boarding facility that has been taken over by Zanu (PF). Last week, co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone said that if Robert Mugabe gave instructions to the police to act decisively on violence, it would end instantaneously.
Nigerians who spoke to The Zimbabwean said that they were ready to bolt if the situation got out of control. I am ready to leave the country for South Africa if the situation gets out of hand. We are closely monitoring the developments and we will engage the government so that we can be protected, said a senior member of the Nigerian community, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Zimbabwe Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Organisation (ZIEEO) Chairperson Paddington Japajapa said that his organisation was against the attacks and warned politicians not to hijack the programme. We do not hate foreigners and we do not want xenophobic attacks. This is not a political programme, he said.
Meanwhile, the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) has condemned the destruction of newspapers and harassment of vendors in Harare on Tuesday. This intimidation of Newsday vendors is undemocratic and inimical to freedom of expression. We urge those behind these barbaric actions to allow the free flow of information, said the council.
It also called on the police to fully and impartially investigate the incidences of violence and bring the perpetrators to justice, and said all political parties should warn their supporters to refrain from attacking newspaper vendors and destroying newspapers as this violated citizens rights to freedom of expression.
British Ambassador Mark Canning also condemned the looting and violence. This follows recent cases of Zanu (PF) inspired violence in the (high-density) suburbs of Harare. It is depressing that while the formation of the Inclusive Government almost two years ago presaged a better future for Zimbabwe, some elements continue to focus on their own narrow political ends rather than the good of the country, said Canning. He said the violence made it harder for real friends such as the UK to help attract the investment the country so badly needs.Post published in: News