Riot police yesterday thwarted a demonstration led by several church groups in Harare which were expressing their dissatisfaction at the worsening political situation in the country.
Source: Police thwart churches demo – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016
BY OBEY MANAYITI
The church groups also intended to submit a petition to Parliament calling for a motion to impeach President Robert Mugabe over his failure to arrest the current challenges facing the country.
As the church leaders gathered at corner Julius Nyerere Way and Jason Moyo Avenue, heavily-armed police details chased them, threatening to beat them up.
After regrouping at a distance, police officers swiftly reacted and threatened to beat up the “men of God” who then eventually gave up.
Police created a scene when they tried to violently disperse the handful of peaceful demonstrators, drawing the attention of passersby. The baton-wielding officers then went for journalists, hurling all sorts of insults at the scribes as they accused them of exposing police brutality.
After few moments of harassment, the journalists were told to leave and report to wherever they wanted.
Meanwhile, war veterans have equated the Zimbabwe Republic Police to the repressive colonial regime’s British South Africa Police (BSAP) over the heavy-handedness applied by the law enforcers to disperse peaceful demonstrators.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general Victor Matemadanda told NewsDay yesterday ahead of today’s mega demonstration involving 18 opposition parties that the majority of police officers did not understand the nature of their job.
Although denouncing malicious damage to property, the combative Matemadanda said people should be allowed to freely demonstrate against the government.
He said instead of applying brute force, the government should listen to people’s views.
“I once said that it was unfortunate that our ZRP didn’t go through an integration process like soldiers did after independence. They just went to join BSAP and today they are like that BSAP in their character. Our police don’t know anything except what they were taught by BSAP,” Matemadanda said.
BSAP was a white-dominated police force for the Rhodesian government which carried out nasty operations to crush any dissenting voices.
Matemadanda accused police of instigating violence during the current wave of spirited protests against the government.
He defended demonstrators, saying people were fed up with rampant corruption in many public offices in the country such as the $15 billion diamond revenue that could not be accounted for.
Matemadanda warned that if the government did not take a bold stand against corruption and other issues, people would continue picketing the streets.
“People of Zimbabwe have a culture of respect and understanding, but they are being forced into what they are doing to demand accountability. Leaders should go to the people and get a way to solve the problems. If they think they have a monopoly of knowledge, monopoly of power, then people will prove them otherwise,” he said.