By Professor Matodzi
Harare, July 05, 2016 – PRO-DEMOCRACY lobby, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has warned the state against any heavy-handed response to the current wave of anti-government protests by citizens.
The group insists the government should first introspect on the real causes of the current unrest.
This follows protests which erupted in Beitbridge last Friday when angry citizens besieged the border post demanding the scrapping of a government ban on certain imports from a list of banned products. Many now demand on trading on the products for their livelihoods.
The Beitbridge protests were followed by similar demonstrations by some commuter transport drivers and conductors in Ruwa and Epworth on Monday.
They Harare transport operators were angered by continued police harassment and endless roadblocks by the country’s law enforcers.
In the two incidents, police have responded through dragnet arrests which have seen some of those arrested claiming abuse by the authorities.
Scenes of anti-riot police brutalising protestors were also posted on social media platforms.
In a statement Monday, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition called on the state to exercise restraint in dealing with the demonstrations.
“CiZC calls upon the government not to be heavy-handed in dealing with these legitimate protests and find lasting solutions for genuine grievances of its people.
“Such a solution should entail engagement with citizens in an all Stakeholders’ Dialogue in resolving this multi-pronged crisis,” said the group.
“Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition also takes this opportunity to urge Zimbabweans to continue upholding non-violence in their legitimate demands and actions.
“We call upon the generality of Zimbabweans including churches, youths, women, workers and informal traders to continue advocating for their economic rights in a non-violent manner.
“We call for all progressive forces to coalesce efforts against poverty and oppression.”
The group further called on the authorities to look deeply into the real causes of the current crisis, top among them high level corruption and too much bureaucracy which have made it difficult for business to thrive in Zimbabwe.