Friday, 18 January 2019


Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni was choked with tear gas after police allegedly fired volleys of the toxic substance at him while he attempted to make his way to the official opening of the 2019 legal year at the High Court last week. 

Monday was characterised by commotion as protests erupted in the second capital following President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s announcement of fuel price hikes at the weekend. 
Mguni, a lawyer by profession, said it was not clear whether the law enforcers acted unintentionally, saying the ZRP officers seem to lack knowledge in crowd control techniques.

“I could not access my offices at the City Hall because of what was happening that day, it was the centre of the protests and there was a lot of commotion. I decided to work from my business offices at Bradlows Building where I then decided to walk across the street to the ceremony at the High Court as it was close by,” Mguni, who said he had assessed and assumed the situation was safe, said. He said he was suddenly engulfed in tear gas and was later rescued by members of the public.

“I could hear some gun shots from within the CBD. As I approached the late vice president (Joshua) Nkomo’s statue, I was suddenly engulfed in tear smoke and I could not breathe. 

“I was later assisted by passers-by who found me lying unconscious on the ground and had to help me back to the office,” he said. “I am not sure whether the police’s actions were unintentional because I am certain I was alone at that moment when they sprayed tear gas on me, there were no protesters nearby. Our police are partisan and lack knowledge on human rights and how to deal with protests. 

“They just throw tear gas randomly. There were sounds of gunfire that day and we cannot rule out the use of live ammunition on defenseless citizens.”

The mayor decried the nature of the protests which turned violent, leading to the destruction of the city’s property.   

He said it was worrying how some protesters were acting maliciously and breaking into business premises.

“We are having a problem with the protesters who have turned violent and are vandalising the city’s property. Buildings, robots are being destroyed, while stones have been placed on the roads,” he said. Daily News


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