Violent protests escalate

HARARE resembled a war zone yesterday as violence flared up after riot police violently disrupted an opposition political parties-organised electoral reform demonstration in defiance of a High Court order which reversed the 11th-hour ban of the march.

by Everson Mushava/Obey Manayiti

Anti-riot police officers beat up an apologetic elderly woman at the main entrance to the Harare Magistrates Court building yesterday
Anti-riot police officers beat up an apologetic elderly woman at the main entrance to the Harare Magistrates Court building yesterday

The National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) accused police of inciting the violence, vowing another demonstration of an even higher magnitude would be held next Friday.

The 18 political parties including MDC-T, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), MDC, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, Transform Zimbabwe, Freedom Front, Zanu Ndonga, ADP, PDZ, Dare, ZimFirst, Zunde and FreeZim Congress, were set to march through the streets of the capital to push for electoral reforms, but were violently stopped by the police.

There was a heavy police presence by 9am with multiple roadblocks on major roads leading into the central business district (CBD). Determined to push their position, the protesters started gathering in the capital city early in the morning as they waited for the High Court outcome.

When news started filtering through that the court had granted the order in their favour, the demonstrators trooped to Civic Centre grounds (Freedom Square), but were met by police heavy-handedness.

Things went to a head when the police used brute force to disperse the crowd by indiscriminately firing tear smoke and water cannons. Police continually fired teargas and water cannons, affecting proceedings at the Rotten Row Magistrates’ Court. But this did not cow the demonstrators into submission as they continued to build up resistance against police brutality.

Running battles continued with the anti-government demonstrators barricading Rotten Row using boulders, vehicle shells and burnt tyres to block traffic from passing through.

Initially, the protesters fled, but regrouped and fought back, virtually closing down the upper parts of the capital. The protesters later retreated into the CBD, blocking roads, looting shops, smashing vehicles as they continued to engage in running battles with the police.

To show their dislike of President Robert Mugabe, the protesters pulled down Robert Mugabe Road signposts, placing one of them alongside a dead puppy while mocking the 92-year-old Zanu PF leader. They barricaded the road and continued their running battles with the police.

The worst violence was witnessed along Chinhoyi Street when Zanu PF youths manning vending stalls at Copacabana bus terminus threatened the demonstrators who had ordered them to close their businesses.


Skirmishes erupted with youths exchanging fire using sling shots and throwing stones at each other, while others engaged in physical contact. Zanu PF youths eventually retreated, but the worst was still to come. The protesters set ablaze the vending stalls, destroying some bales of clothing.

Riot police were all this time making sporadic appearances, using water cannons to disperse people who formed pockets around road intersections and along city roads, with business coming to a standstill in Jason Moyo Avenue.

As the drama continued to unfold in the CBD, opposition political leaders who included ZimPF’s Joice Mujuru, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume, PDP leader Tendai Biti and former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa, left the Civic Grounds in a huff after their convoy was tear-gassed when they attempted to address their followers after being granted the court order to proceed with the protest.

Mutasa, who is Nera convenor, told journalists that he was shocked by the level of violence by the police against the people.

“Today has been the worst day that I have lived in the country that I have observed with my own eyes, the State breaking its own laws and the State starting violence by attacking people who had gathered together throwing teargas and hitting them with water cannons,” Mutasa said.

“If that was intended to cow us from demonstrating, I want to say the opposite has been the case, we are going next Friday to do exactly the same as we have done today. We are going to request another opportunity to demonstrate here in Harare, and if that is thwarted, then our demonstration capacity will also be extended.”

Mutasa was flanked by Tsvangirai and his deputies Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa, Mujuru, Ngarivhume, ZimPF’s Rugare Gumbo and many more from the opposition camp.

He said people were tired of Mugabe’s rule and hoped that fresh elections would be held sooner than 2018.

“And this mess, it’s a real mess, will end. The protests will continue until we vote Mugabe out of power,” Mutasa said, adding they would push their concerns through Sadc and the African Union.

Tsvangirai said they would simply notify the police of next week’s protest because it had already been approved.
Asked if the police would not use today’s violence to deny Nera the chance to protest, Tsvangirai said political parties should not be held responsible for anything that happened outside their planned protest route.

“We had a route, anything that happened outside the route, we are not accountable,” he said, concurring with Mutasa that the police triggered the violence. He said Mugabe could only ignore people’s anger at his own peril.

Mujuru said she had received news that over 50 protesters who had been battered by the police had been sent to the Counselling Services Unit.

“This thing has been there for a long time and when people are bottling this (anger) for too long, you know what will happen, and these are the results. People have been whispering their anger and no one has been giving them an ear to that, and, therefore, we are going to live with it if we are not going to get a response sooner.”

By last night popcorn protests were still being experience in different parts of the capital.

Meanwhile, National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe chairperson Stern Zvorwadza was yesterday arrested on allegations of inciting public violence.

Zvorwadza was arrested at Harare Central Police Station where he had gone to report as part of his bail conditions. Tajakumuka/Sesijikile spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi was also reportedly arrested earlier on the same allegations.
The two were currently detained at the CID Law and Order Section.

According to unconfirmed reports, Zvorwadza was apprehended soon after arriving at the police station by plain-clothed police officers who told him that they wanted to question him with disturbances currently unfolding in the country.

44 Comments

  1. Yaa chembere ngadzirohwe ndidzo dzinovhotera ZANU PF idzodzi nxaa

    1. You are stupid. How can you say that? Do you think at all?

    2. Do you have a heart. Would you want your mother beaten up for having her own political preferences. Pray that karma doesnt visit yu

    3. Uri dh*dhi!

    4. Next Friday mupurisa achaona fire.

    5. We should not glorify thieves and looters. These are the things that discredit the opposition and that’s why the people are generally not excited about the opposition politics.

      Why were these people stoning peoples shops and vehicle? if your fight is against the government and Zanu PF, why are you stoning and stealing from my shop?

      Its shameless that these are people that are now being paraded by the private & independent media as heroes “representing” people. The police breaking up a march is no excuse for destroying property.

  2. honai pic iyo vakomana! ungarova mai vako like that? kujaidzwa. friday chakabaka!

  3. iwe mugabe uri right right no reason whatsoever justifies this barbaric act of abuse to women and worse an elderly woman.These police people are inhuman and should be treated as such

  4. cowards!? seven boys against one old woman! cowards!?

  5. WILLARD MUBVUMBI

    Looking at the picture there, really, am boiling with anger. Beating an old woman like that? I used to respect the police, but not anymore!
    Whether the old woman is Zanu or MDC, she is your mother or granny. Thats bad. Whenever people excoriated the police, i used to defend the police. Those who criticised the police were indeed right.
    Its inhuman and deplorable to see these constables beating an elderly woman.
    AM STARTING TO HATE THESE POLICE GUYS. Even my relatives who are employed as police men, i will cut the relationship.
    Nxa!!!!!!

  6. WILLARD MUBVUMBI

    Am really boiling up with anger seeing these nincompoops beating an elderly woman.
    Its inhuman, degrading and deplorable.
    I used to respect the police but not anymore!
    Whenever people excoriated the police, i used to defend the police, but i have stopped.
    Its a problem when pple are trained not to use their common senses.
    Thats bad.

  7. WILLARD MUBVUMBI

    Am really boiling up with anger seeing these nincompoops beating an elderly woman.
    Its inhuman, degrading and deplorable.
    I used to respect the police but not anymore!
    Whenever people excoriated the police, i used to defend the police, but i have stopped.
    Its a problem when pple are trained not to use their common senses. These constables are now growing too big for their shoes.
    Thats bad.

  8. kkk time is moving very fast for sure ,my uncle Mutasa and Joyce joining the opposition mwari watinonamata ndimwari anesimba Learnmore Jongwe ,Isaac Matongo,baba John Makumbe,Masipula sithole,Edson Zobgo,baba Nkomo,baba muzenda mukai muone zvaita nyika

  9. Mapurisa ndimi matova vavengi vevanhu,muri kushandiswa kuponda hama dzenyu,very soon muchaomerwa neupenyu kana vakuita an eye for an eye wth anyone in the zanu pf republic police.

  10. That is not a police officer I think he got his training at Boarder Gezi, how he could be so over zealous and went as far as kicking that old women, what was her crime? she has a right to demonstrate if she was, after all that stupid officer knows nothing about the history of Zimbabwe. Being a policeman doesn’t give you power to do things willy-nilly. Something needs to be done especially to that policeman.

  11. the police esp zim cops are mugabe dogs. inongoita zvayatumwa without questions.

  12. She obviously did something wrong. The question is whether or not it is sexist to hit a woman on not to.

    1. what wrong can that be, if a person is hungry and expresses her hunger does she deserve to be beaten, does she pose an danger or threat. work up my friend UVOVO. be human

  13. from the pic it looks like the other police officers are warning the one officer who is kicking the lady. the other officers seem to be looking in disbelieve as to why that officer is kicking the old woman.

    SO NOT ALL OFFICERS ARE HAPPY WITH THIS AND TO THOSE OFFICERS WE APPLAUD YOU. YOU SHALL MAKE UP THE NEW ZRP IN THE NEW ZIMBABWE.

  14. Kurova mai ka uku. Kutanda botso. See hw far has it gone. Lack of reasoning or Common sensé. Mati mapurisa. Kuchikidzira vabereki, kuti vararame vachichya. Submission through fear not respect.

  15. h that police officer is worse than a dog the whole Zimbabwe curse you.

  16. these so called police officers aren’t police officers at all. they are zanupf militias and youths in police uniforms. even the so called soldiers, they are zanu pf youths in army uniform. its the police and army uniforms thats being abused by zanu pf. whats needed is to take one of them as prisoner, then interrogate him thoroughly, he will definitely spill the beans

  17. AM SHOCKED TO SAY THE LEAST. THIS IS DEPLORABLE AND WAR HAS BEEN DECLARED IF THIS IS A TRUE PIC OF WHAT THIS YOUNG MAN DID TO THIS POOR AND VULNERABLE WOMAN! WHAT HAPPENS IF THE IMAGE OF YOUR MOTHER’S BREAST IS DISFIGURED? DURING OUR YEARS IT WAS WAR! PAIRWIWA

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  19. come friday.

  20. My buddy’s step-mother makes $81 an hour on the laptop . She has been fired for 9 months but last month her payment was $14461 just working on the laptop for a few hours. site link….

    SEE MORE~~~~~~~~~~~~JOBSITE.TK

  21. Pictured ZRP brutality even Human Rights Violation on a helpless granny has to be brandmarked with utter disgust !

  22. No going back. These are the fruits of over staying on power of a clueless old man. He was suppose to listen to people of his age like Mandela and tutu. Zanu pf it’s time for pay back. Police officers start moving out of the locations you are renting for your safety.

  23. ambuya vafa ngenzara ava vakomana vakati vodawo chikafu iwe werova kudai

  24. zvaita seiko akomana imwi

  25. mbuya vane nzara ava havachagoni kumhanya ava

    1. Sekuru Ndoronga

      These are ZANUPF youths wearing ZRP Uniforms. Wanhu wasina tsika,

      NGOZI HAIRIPWI ZUWA IRO INGOPARWA!

  26. Chimurenga Chatsva

    I hope civic society (ZIMRIGHTS or Lawyers for Human Rights) are taking note of these pictures and creating a dosier of all those infractions so that in due time these police officers will be prosecuted as individuals. These police officers need to be identified and they should be warned that they will face justice in their individual capacity. Political party leaders should clearly warn police officers that no amnesty will be offered to those officers who are abusing people. Obeying illegal orders from the government or police commanders is no defence to a trial as this demonstration was sanctioned by the high court. It will be necessary to prosecute and punish these people so that there will be no abuse of power in the next government. An example has to be made so that the next leader will know that real power lies in the hands of the people. This day will surely come and government officials better be warned.

    1. Chimurenga Chatsva your advice must be heeded so that come the moment of truth these violent ZRP will be hounded, apprehended and made to answer for their diabolical sins. As for Chiuri the ZRP’s mafia chef he will be hauled to the ICC for human rights violations. So will Mugabe and his party of thieves. How can we allow them to escape punishment when the High Court allowed people to protest and NO the ZRP came out in full force and perpetrated violence on Zimbabweans including the lady captured in this photo. A lady who is a mother, and most likely a grandmother. Normal thinking Zimbabweans do not abuse their mothers or elders.

  27. Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission ,144 Samora Machel Ave, Harare, is legally obliged to deal with every citizen´s complaint of abuses and violations of constitutional rights and freedoms !

  28. vanhuwee munhu uyu ana mai here?

  29. when i looked at the figure of 14786 dollars .Than I have no other choice but to accept , what i saw .They have been doing this for a year and get rid of their debts.. Yesterday they purchased new Aston Martin …
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  30. Uyu mupurisa ngaatsvagwe aponderwe mai vake so that azive kutadza kwaaita. Ungarove mai kudaro shuwa? He is just worse that his master. They should look at how Augustine is playing it safe. He knows that such actions can haunt him in future.

  31. Tine vangu vaishandira musangano we ZANU nemoyo wese vana Elliot Manyika asi Robert Bhobho Mugabe akavakudubutsa what more mupurisa ???u are nothing in Roberts eye …..APA munotumwa kurova vanhu musina pay muhomwe nxaa …varume zoom that photo iyo arikuoneka face moisa pa Facebook panowana vanomuziva tikamubata size yakanaka anotaura kuti iyo ndiani akarova mbuya ago ndiko kubatwa kwenhubu dzakadai…. Pasi be ZANU Pf

  32. My buddy’s step-mother makes $81 an hour on the laptop . She has been fired for 9 months but last month her payment was $14461 just working on the laptop for a few hours. site link….

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  33. My buddy’s step-mother makes $81 an hour on the laptop . She has been fired for 9 months but last month her payment was $14461 just working on the laptop for a few hours. site link….

    SEE MORE~~~~~~~~~~~~JOBSITE.TK

  34. if you look close to this picture, it seems like the 2 other police guys are telling this guy to stop what he is doing, this is so bad and this should be the great offence, sure kubhutsura gogo, ava havasi amai but ndimbuya, aaaaah muchinda uyu haana matyira, even the president havamboite zvakadai,

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