Harare – Zimbabwe’s main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, has accused President Robert Mugabe’s government of deploying Zanu-PF youths to “masquerade” as police officers across the country to stop an electoral reform protests over the weekend.
In a statement sent to News24, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said that the ruling Zanu-PF government has declared war against its own citizen when a number of police officers were deployed to enforce a protests ban on Saturday.
The opposition party spokesperson has since called on police commissioner Augustine Chihuri to distance the police from the fake police officers.
Gutu claimed that the members of the ruling Zanu-PF youths were handed police uniform in order to masquerade as police officers.
“The MDC has established irrefutable evidence to the effect that thousands of Zanu PF thugs and hoodlums, employed as so – called youth officers throughout the country, are actually being given ZRP uniforms so that they can masquerade as duly attested members of the Police force.Thus,we would like to call upon the Commissioner – General of Police,Augustine Chihuri,to come out in the open and publicly dissociate the legitimate members of the ZRP from these marauding Zanu PF thugs and hooligans, “ said Gutu.
Gutu further said that the “faction – ridden Zanu PF regime has since gone rogue.”
“ … the collapsing regime, fronted by Robert Mugabe, proved to the entire world, beyond a shadow of doubt, that it has declared war against innocent and unarmed civilians who are seeking to exercise their constitutional right to engage in peaceful demonstrations as provided for under Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” said Gutu.
Gutu further stated that some political activists had been targeted by the police and were arrested and even tortured.
He added that even members of the national assembly were not sparred by the police on Saturday.
“Political activists and thousands of non – political activists were thuggishly rounded up, arrested and severely tortured. Even Members of Parliament were not spared in this State – sponsored orgy of violence, banditry and thuggery.
“To all intents and purposes, therefore, the bankrupt and clueless Zanu PF regime has since imposed a de facto state of emergency throughout the country,” added Gutu.
Reports on Saturday indicated that a planned mass demonstration against Zimbabwe’s veteran leader failed to kick off in the capital Harare on Saturday, as riot police patrolled the streets to enforce a protest ban.
A coalition of opposition parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) had planned the country-wide demonstrations demanding reform ahead of the 2018 election, when 92-year-old Mugabe plans to stand again.
But a month-long protest ban and a heavy police presence saw the event fizzle out before it started, with just small groups of activists demonstrating in the suburbs.