18 February 2019

Zimbabwe: More Strikes, Brutality Lie Ahead in Zimbabwe

Photo: Columbus Mavhunga/VOA
Lawyers take part in a protest outside the Constitutional Court after they presented a petition to the country’s chief justice Luke Malaba’s office in Harare, Zimbabwe, Jan. 29, 2019.

Rutenga — Another brutal crackdown by law enforcers against protesters appears likely amid indications of another round of demonstrations against the economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa disclosed the country faced fresh protests, just a month after state security allegedly shot dead at least 12 protesters during demonstrations organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

Addressing an estimated 50 000 supporters at a rally in Rutenga in the ancient Masvingo Province, Mnangagwa accused the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance and a so-called third force and Western non-governmental organisations (NGO) for organising upcoming protests.

He urged citizens to monitor perpetrators of violent protests and alert law enforcement agents.

"In the forthcoming planned violent protests, people who love peace must remain indoors so that the law enforcement would know who to clearly deal with those rabble-rousers inciting violence," Mnangagwa said.

He said peaceful demonstrations were allowed but looting and vandalism would be condemned.

Mnangagwa accused NGOs and MDC-Alliance of establishing mobile clinics for nurses and doctors ahead of their planned protests.

"Government would not hesitate raffling feathers of such accomplices of violence. We are going after those doctors and nurses. They (MDC-Alliance) were saying there are doctors waiting to treat those that get injured," Mnangagwa said.

He said investigations would fish out some NGOs that were behind the violence, which claimed six lives and prejudiced businesses of more than $500 million (about R7 billion) in damages and unrealised earnings.

Mnangagwa however has been flip-flopping on the crisis.

He earlier condemned the army and pledged to investigate.

Recently, he also pledged dialogue with the opposition.

The country is gripped by worsening economic malaise marked by food and currency shortages and unemployment. The army killed at least six people after demonstrations following the July 30 poll.

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