By Professor Matodzi
Mutare, 15 January, 2016 – Zimbabwean authorities have moved to suppress protests staged by citizens as tension rises in the troubled southern African country.
Police in Manicaland province on Thursday interrogated an ally of Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai over a demonstration he allegedly led together with some villagers in his constituency last week.
Saruwaka, the MDC-T legislator for Mutasa Central reported at the Criminal Investigation Department’s Law and Order Section at Mutare Central Police Station in the company of his lawyer Blessing Nyamaropa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, after he was summoned to do so on Tuesday.
Police who charged Saruwaka with contravening Section 25 of the Public Order and Security Act, accused the opposition lawmaker of staging a demonstration at Mutasa Rural District Council where villagers served a petition to the District Administrator protesting against the partisan distribution of agricultural inputs sourced under a government financed scheme.
The police charged that Saruwaka breached one of the country’s tough security laws by failing to seek police clearance or notify them of the organised protest.
The legislator, who denied the charge, was released after police officers recorded a warned and cautioned statement from him and was advised that the police will summon him to court if they intended to further pursue the matter.
Meanwhile, in an indication that Zimbabwean authorities are panicking over organised protests, police in Bulawayo suppressed a protest that had been mounted by some residents against rising cases of sexual abuse of minors.
Police nabbed Jasmine Toffa, the MDC proportional representation legislator for Bulawayo Metropolitan province together with six Mpopoma high-density suburb residents after they protested against rising cases of child and sexual abuse.
The residents’ demonstration came after recent media reports, which revealed that a man believed to be in his 60s had sexually abused a teenager.
The residents were reportedly peeved that the perpetrator of the sexual offence had been granted bail at the Western Commonage Magistrates Court.
They were taken to a police station in Mpopoma high-density suburb where they were later released without being charged for committing any offence after they successfully resisted profiling by the police.
Zimbabwean police have in recent weeks resorted to suppressing anti-government protests as President Robert Mugabe’s administration shows its apprehension over fears of an uprising in the troubled southern African country.
The government recently purchased some military hardware including vehicles to arm itself against any potential threats poses by some disgruntled citizens who are enduring one of the country’s worst economic crises marked by food shortages, job losses, company closures and failure by the government to pay workers on time.