A fierce demonstration erupted nationwide soon after the sudden announcement of a 150% hike in fuel price by government two days earlier. This saw people from various cities and towns in Zimbabwe taking to the streets and barricading roads in stark protest. Several protesters and MDC Alliance supporters countrywide had to scurry for dear life after armed police fired at them.
In the dormitory town of Chitungwiza on the night of January 14, 2019 security forces fired at protesters and arrested activists such as Loveness Wadzanai Kujeke (31), John Mazadza (43) and Zivanai Muchakacha (38) together with 31 others in connection with the fierce protest. In separate interviews the political activists claimed that the armed forces had used force and dragged them out of their homes, beat them and ordered them to roll in the mud before bundling them in army vehicles.
“They accused us of causing mayhem by leading the Chitungwiza protest. It was such a traumatic experience for us. We were later released without a charge,” Kujeke said.
Members of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said they provided emergency medical services to 25 people with gunshot injuries. They also said that two people in Chitungwiza and three in Kadoma had died from gunshot wounds.
In a separate incident, earlier on 1 August 2018, the above activists were involved in a demonstration in Harare, where eight people were shot by overzealous soldiers, harassed, beaten and bundled in army vehicles. There has been an increase in the number of MDC Alliance supporters being reported missing or brutally assaulted by government security forces.