Saturday, September 10, 2011

Political Forces Clash in Zimbabwe

Saturday, Sep 10th

Arrest hooligans, Jomic tells police

Friday, 09 September 2011 02:00

Police patrolled Machipisa Shopping Centre in Highfield, Harare, yesterday following violent clashes that rocked the centre on Wednesday

Herald Reporters

POLICE must crack down on people who are behind the violence that rocked Harare in the past three days, Jomic co-chairperson, Cde Oppah Muchinguri, has said.

Violence rocked the official opening of the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament on Tuesday when Zanu-PF and MDC youths clashed.

Suspected Zanu-PF youths also clashed with market stall owners at Machipisa Shopping Centre in Highfield on Wednesday.

In an interview yesterday, Cde Muchinguri said Jomic would work extra hard to ensure Harare was violent free.

"Our principals have spoken against violence and anyone who is doing this we don't know who they are listening to," she said.

"Whoever is organising this should be brought to book and detained because we don't want violence. People who are doing this are enemies of the GPA."

Cde Muchinguri bemoaned failure by the inter-party committees from district to cell level to quell politically motivated violence.

Zanu-PF and MDC-T were yesterday trading accusations on who had caused the violence.

Zanu-PF spokesperson, Cde Rugare Gumbo, said it was the MDC-T who had initiated the violence, while MDC-T spokesperson, Mr Douglas Mwonzora, said the violence had been caused by "well-known Zanu-PF hooligans".

"President Mugabe has said no to violence on several occasions and as a party we don't condone violence," said Cde Gumbo.

"We know MDC-T is always provoking the situation and we suspect that is what happened on the two occasions."

Zanu-PF Harare provincial youth chairman, Cde Jimu Kunaka, said the violence that rocked Machipisa market had nothing to do with politics.

"What happened at Machipisa is that former stall owners wanted their stalls, which they had been given by the council, back," he said.

"They even have leases, but it is surprising that the council decided to give other people the same stalls.

"If you look at the values on our Zanu-PF logo, there is unity, peace and development, which are the values that we want followed."

But Mr Mwonzora said Zanu-PF was not sincere when they talked about a violent-free country.

"As MDC, we know that the violence is initiated by Zanu-PF and is State-sponsored because the police have done little to stop the violence," he said.

It was business as usual at Machipisa yesterday as riot police maintained a heavy presence at the market.

Machipisa market chairperson, Mr Farai Bwanya, accused Zanu-PF youths of wanting to use politics in taking over the stalls.

"When we were given the stalls by the council, they told us that they don't want politics and we have been abiding by that rule," he said.

Mr Bwanya said the youths had been given stalls by the council, but refused to use them, instead preferring to sub-let for higher rentals.

Harare Mayor, Mr Muchadeyi Masunda, blamed the violence that rocked Machipisa over vending stalls on unemployment in the country. The majority of market stalls in Harare are run by the city council.

There have been accusations that the city council was failing to create new vending places and in the process attracting unnecessary competition which later turns out to be violent.

"There are so many able-bodied young people out there with nothing to do," said Mr Masunda.

"Their frustration is reaching boiling point."

Sources at the city council indicated that problems at the market stalls began in 2008 when the city weeded out people who were subletting them and replaced them with individuals who paid directly to council.

When the exercise began, some people simply gave up the market stalls to allow sanity to prevail.

But the same people are now allegedly coming back to reclaim the stalls and are hiring youths to do the footwork for them.

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