BY BLESSED MHLANGA
THE Nelson Chamisa-led opposition MDC has sensationally claimed that soldiers and graduates of Zanu PF’s notorious National Youth Service, also known as Green Bombers, were on Friday dressed up in riot police gear and deployed to crush an anti-government protest organised by the opposition party in Harare.
Party organising secretary Amos Chibaya told NewsDay yesterday that the party was concerned after it emerged that some people wearing police uniform, but not
attested to the security sector, were used to beat up demonstrators who took to the streets to protest against the skyrocketing cost of living, souring
inflation and shortages of critical basic commodities, and endless power outages.
“The police must account. There must be an audit of who was deployed to deal with that demonstration. This is because we have received information that some of
the people deployed on the streets were not actually police, but party youths. This is a gross violation of the Constitution and, therefore, there should be an
audit,” he said.
The MDC demanded names of all officers deployed to crush the Friday demonstration to be made public for accountability, and vowed they were going ahead with their planned protest in Bulawayo today despite another police ban.
“The conduct of the police must not invite debate among the citizens. The authority of the police is applied based on trust and fairness outside that the police have no authority, people should have confidence in them, but their actions have greatly invited doubt and to restore confidence they should publish (names of) all the officers who were deployed,” he said.
But national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi dismissed the allegations, saying real police officers were deployed on Friday.
“As far as we are concerned, all the people deployed for any police duty, including for the demonstrations, were police officers. Anyone who has concerns about our conduct should approach the Commissioner-General (Godwin Matanga) of the police for answers,” he said.
Addressing journalists in the aftermath of the foiled protest march, Chamisa denied reports that the protesters were armed with stones and catapults to fight
“Why would we gather catapults? For what? And to confront with people who have guns? Are we that naive that we would want to wedge a war against the police
using catapults? Do they think that we are that Stone Age? We are modern people, but you see, this is propaganda. In any event, the police are not our enemies,
they are also citizens whether in uniform or not,” he said.
“We are also not that naive that we can look for political solution using catapults and well-manicured quarry stones. Why would we hunt for the police using
catapults as if they are birds? When a leopard wants to eat its young, it accuses them of smelling like goats to justify the cannibal tendencies — the
predatory tendencies of this regime. Why would you be worried about stones in a sack and you cannot overthrow a councillor using stones and what more of a
government? It’s all propaganda and that is the biggest problem.
“This regime is a lie in its composition and constitution. They came through a lie of disputed elections and they are a lie in substance and for subsistence,
they are a lie in their survival. They lie to themselves and they lie to the world and the citizens and that is why their lie is now being discovered even by
their own friends.”
The MDC has vowed to go ahead with its Bulawayo protest today despite the ban by police.
“As far as we are concerned, the planned protest is still on. We are going ahead. It’s all systems go,” MDC Bulawayo spokesperson Swithern Chirowodzwa said.
Reacting to the protest ban, MDC treasurer-general David Coltart said:“All that the junta have done is put a lid on a boiling pot, but that won’t stop the
pressure. The anger of people caused by brazen corruption, abuse of power and incompetent governance by the ruling elite will continue to escalate.”