Vendors operating in the Central Business District of Harare have described the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) as ruthless and irrational, calling for an urgent action from the Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri to encourage ethical conduct by the custodians of the law.
By Moregiven Sithole
This follows an incident in which riot police used teargas and water cannons to ruthlessly disperse the Movement for Democratic (MDC- T) youths who were demonstrating against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chairperson Rita Makarawu whom they accuse of manipulating the electoral process in favor of Zanu Pf.
This affected civilians and vendors who had nothing to do with the demonstration.
Amon Mutasa, a vendor operating along Nelson Mandela Street said yesterday’s incident showed the highest degreeof insensitivity by the Zimbabwean Police adding that their business was affected adversely by the melee.
“Before the demonstration started, we saw them (the Police) walking around in the streets and we were actually happy because we thought they wanted to crush hooliganism which would result in us losing our wares. That is what they are supposed to be doing,” said Mutasa.
“We were shocked when they started to use spray water and teargas on us. We didn’t lose our wares but we did not work the whole day because the area was no longer workable as it smelt of teargas the whole day, even now the teargas still smells but we are persevering because we have no other options,” he added.
Another vendor Mike Chinyanga said the security services should find other ways of dealing with their targets without affecting them as they have nothing to do with politics.
“It is confusing that people we look up to as our protectors are abusing us, we had nothing to do with the demonstration and we are not politicians. We are only concerned about putting food on table by vending but they sprayed teargas on us and we ended up packing our wares and left as the chemicals they sprayed were very harmful,” said Chinyanga.
“We will be happy if the authorities up there find other ways of crushing demonstrations without using teargases and water cannons as this affects our health and scare away our customers,” he implored.
Efforts to get a comment from Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba were fruitless as her mobile phone was unreachable.
Meanwhile MDC T youth’s leader Happymore Chidziva has vowed to continue with demonstrations without notifying the authorities and this is likely going to cause bloody clashes between party members and the Police.