Tension gripped Harare yesterday following heavy deployment of riot police officers ostensibly to deal with any dissenting voice during President Robert Mugabe’s presentation of State of the Nation Address (Sona). BY OBEY MANAYITI
Source: Govt deploys riot police during Sona – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 7, 2016
Yesterday riot police details were on standby at several strategic points around Parliament building, while Africa Unity Square was teeming with officers ready to defuse any potential unrest.
Uniformed and non-uniformed officers were seen ordering people to vacate part of the park adjacent to Parliament building.
Social movement leaders had threatened to confront Mugabe and demand answers from him.
“They are afraid of Tajamuka. We wanted to go and force them to pay civil servants their salaries and bonuses before Christmas,” Tajamuka spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi said.
“They are afraid because they know they have failed and let down the people. The action was targeted at reminding Mugabe to pay civil servants their dues before December 15. Tajamuka makes it categorically clear that civil servants have to be paid immediately.”
Patson Dzamara of the Occupy Africa Unity Square movement said such overreaction was a sign of fear, while imploring Mugabe and his government to concede failure.
“They are, therefore, doing everything within their power to protect their misrule and oppression. The heavy deployment of police in town we witnessed today as Mugabe delivered his Sona attests to the fact that they are afraid of the people they purportedly lead.”
Last week, the State brought out its anti-riot hardware to ruthlessly crush a planned protest by opponents of his regime’s introduction of a surrogate currency, bond notes.
For several months now, a series of sporadic anti-government protests have been witnessed, mostly in Harare, with demonstrators demanding Mugabe steps down, accusing him of no longer being fit to lead the country.