Vendors union disowns protests
By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
The National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) has distanced itself from violent protests that erupted on Tuesday and suspects that they were started by hooligans bent on discrediting the organisation.
Riots broke out in downtown Harare in the morning as suspected Zanu PF youths pelted vendors and passersby with stones, destroyed hawkers goods and damaged some buildings.
The assailants chanted slogans similar to the ones used by NAVUZ.
“The National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) would like to distance itself from violent clashes that occurred in Harare’s Central Business District today (Tuesday).
“As NAVUZ, we view this as one of the ploys by Zanu PF to use their rogue youths to cause violence after which they will abuse their stranglehold on the police and judiciary to institute a series of arbitrary arrests of opposition and civic society activists,” said NAVUZ in a statement.
Added the union: “We would like to reiterate that NAVUZ is a peaceful organization and violence has never been our way of resolving issues. Rather, our members have been victims of police brutality while protesting peacefully.”
President Robert Mugabe’s critics have for a long time complained that they were arrested and tortured on trumped up charges.
The police watched as the violence took place.
“What is mindboggling is that the Zanu PF youths terrorised ordinary citizens while stoning buildings for more than an hour yet there was no police response.
“To make matters worse, the NAVUZ offices were also stoned by the same rogue youths who were claiming to be vendors and belonging to NAVUZ,” said the union. Nehanda Radio