Wednesday, 21 August 2019

COPS DESCEND ON MASVINGO


 (New Ziana) – Masvingo residents and businesses overwhelmingly snubbed the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s call for street protests in the city on Wednesday, and carried out their normal daily routines.

The party had planned to stage demonstrations in the city on Wednesday, ostensibly to pressure the government to resolve the prevailing economic difficulties in the country.

But like in Harare last week, and Bulawayo and Gweru this week, Masvingo residents and businesses ignored the MDC’s call for street marches, and instead carried on with their normal routines, with shops and banks open and trading.

“There were messages that were circulated yesterday (Tuesday) about the demonstration, but there is nothing. All the shops are open, and people are carrying on their business as usual,” a resident in the city told New Ziana.


The planned street protests in Masvingo were part of a series the MDC had planned in a number of towns and cities, starting with last Friday’s banned march in Harare, and two others in Bulawayo and Gweru this week which were also outlawed by the police and courts.

Apart from having largely been ignored by residents in various cities, the planned demonstrations were banned on security grounds after similar street protests by the party in the past led to an orgy of violence in which lives were lost, property destroyed and shops and businesses massively looted.

In some cities, for instance Bulawayo, residents, businesses and civic organisations teamed up to petition the police and the courts to outlaw the intended marches for fear of their safety.


Police spokesman, assistant commissioner Paul Nyathi told New Ziana Masvingo was calm and peaceful, with no incidents or disturbances reported by mid-day on Wednesday.

He said like elsewhere, police had issued a prohibition order against the marches in the city to prevent possible violence.

“The situation in Masvingo is calm and peaceful. People are going about their various social and economic activities. We urge citizens to report any acts of lawlessness such as intimidation and people who disturb the smooth flow of traffic,” he said.

The MDC, which refuses to accept defeat in last year’s presidential election, is widely suspected of having planned to use the street protests to unseat the government from power.

Ahead of the demonstrations, the government said it suspected a third force to be behind the plans, and it later emerged US Embassy officials, including the ambassador, held meetings with top MDC officials on the eve of the marches in Harare last week.

The United States has retained its two decade hostile posture towards Zimbabwe, despite a change of government and Harare’s overtures to open a new page in relations between the two countries.

New Ziana

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