Zimbabwe government fears rebellion by protesters
The cluster, comprising security services chiefs and Ministers responsible for Home Affairs, State Security and Defence met under the aegis of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) to identify and arrests the initiators of the protests that spiked in the capital Harare this week.
Earlier, State Security Minister, Kembo Mohadi, had questioned why police failed to prevent the protests that started in the border town of Beitbridge and spread to major cities of Bulawayo, Gweru Harare, Kwekwe, Masvingo and Mutare.
“We know there is a third force behind these protests, but we will deal with the perpetrators,” said Mohadi.
Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, said more than 100 protesters had so far been arrested for the violent protests.
She described the protests as “criminal.”
“We are aware that criminal elements are instigating and inciting members of the public to engage in lawlessness such as burning of shops, tyres and any other forms of mischief. Police will be deployed to ensure safe passage to work,” said Charamba.
Protesters expressed outrage at the economic meltdown and the decision by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to ban the importation of some commodities from neighbouring countries.
“There are no jobs in Zimbabwe to talk about. There is no industry to absorb university graduates, when we go to South Africa to order goods for sell, they confisticate them…that’s the root cause of these protests. There is no third force at all,” said Maunganidze Chaurura, one of the leaders of the protesters.
The meeting by the cabinet security cluster coincided with professionals such as teachers, nurses and doctors staying away from work in protests of unpaid salaries. The reported $15 billion (about R225) allegedly looted from state coffers while civil servants, except police and soldiers, were unpaid have fuelled the tensions.
Social media networks were jammed to curb the protests worsening.
Soldiers were deployed in many streets in the capital.
Opposition parties and human rights groups have joined the fray to demand President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, step down.
– CAJ News
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