Britain Condemns Harare Violence

Zanu (PF) youths rampaged through the city’s central business district on Monday targeting foreign owned companies on the pretext that they were protesting against the slow pace of the indigenisation of the economy.

Police, who sometimes block other political parties form holding demonstrations, gave Zanu (PF) youths the go ahead to protest against Nigerian and Chinese owned businesses including Easipark a South African company that won a company to manage municipal parking in Harare.

Zanu (PF) and the police claimed the protests were hijacked by criminal elements who attacked small scale traders at the Gulf complex and beat up shoppers.

But Canning in a brief statement on Tuesday blamed Zanu (PF) youths for the violence, saying it was a continuation of the disturbances that had rocked Harare’s poor townships for close to a month.

“This follows recent cases of Zanu (PF) inspired violence in the suburbs of Harare, notably Mbare, Glen Norah and Budiriro,” the envoy said.

He said it was depressing that despite the formation of the inclusive government almost two years ago, some elements continued to focus on their own narrow political ends rather than the good of the country.

“It is this sort of unchecked violence – ignored by the police- and not imaginary sanctions, which does untold damage to Zimbabwe’s reputation abroad and makes it harder for real friends such as the United Kingdom to help attract investment the country so badly needs.”

The placard waving mob also denounced sanctions imposed on Zanu (PF) politicians and praised President Robert Mugabe’s indigenisation programme, which critics say would be executed the same way as the land reform that benefited the long serving ruler’s cronies.

Last week the British embassy sent a formal complaint to Zimbabwean authorities protesting against the harassment of a diplomat at a ceremony to handover British funded hospital equipment.

Zanu (PF) thugs mobbed, Sarah Bennet, the second secretary at the embassy in Harare after she handed over the equipment.

The youths claimed protesting against sanctions imposed on Mugabe’s inner circle, which is one of Zanu PF’s campaign template ahead of elections expected this year.

Mugabe is soon expected to launch an anti-sanctions petition which is seeking two million signatures from Zimbabweans. Zanu (PF) has been forcing people to sign the petition, sparking violence in many parts of the country.