Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday said the government would in future use the military to deal with violence during protests.
“We will look at our own ways of solving such problems…we have security forces. We cannot keep snakes growing in our backyards,” Mphoko said.
He was speaking to government heads of departments, councillors and other local leaders in Beitbridge where he went to get “first hand” information on the causes of the riots that rocked the border town on July 1.
The vice-president said there was a possibility of a hidden sponsor to the riots.
Mphoko heard that the riots were started by very young children and not people that were arrested by police.
Councillor Max Chikova told him that the riots were sparked by the recently-introduced regulation Statutory Instrument 64/2016 restricting goods imports.
“People are afraid to say the truth but the recent import laws have completely spelt doom on Beitbridge people who survive from the border,” he said.
Chikova, a Zanu PF councillor for Beitbridge Town Council, urged government to consider levying duty on goods instead of banning imports.
“Everyone is not happy; they are crying because of the new law. Even government is not making money; its losing revenue because people are sidestepping the border and smuggling goods,” Chikova said.
“We must investigate the possibility of these children having been sponsored. We have no child soldiers in Zimbabwe,” Mphoko said.
Mphoko later toured the town where he was shown the burnt Zimbabwe Revenue Authority warehouse which was still smouldering, looted shops and destroyed traffic lights.
He donated $300 to Sarina Ndou, a woman in her 70s whose shop was looted by protesters.