Riots in Zimbabwe in 2016

From Pindula

For a list of Political Demonstrations in Zimbabwe in 2016, see this article

The year 2016 has been characterised by cases of spontaneous rioting in Zimbabwe. The riots began in June 2016. -

Beitbridge

18 June 2016

On 18 June 2016 travelers protested at Beitbridge border post, against the implementation of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, which banned the importation of a host of basic commodities such as Coffee creamers (Cremora),Baked beans, Potato crisps, Cereals, Bottled water, Mayonnaise (see full list here).

Zimra confiscated the imported goods which required import licences for them to enter the country. The protests resulted in the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority suspending the implementation of the Statutory Instrument. According to sources at Beitbridge, the travelers teamed up and started singing revolutionary songs denouncing Zimra and they only stopped when riot police were called in.[1] Below is a video of the protestors:

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1 July 2016

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On 1 July 2016 Zimbabwe’s biggest border post and gate-way to South Africa, was forced to shut-down after ordinary people in the border town took to the streets to protest government’s ban on imports. According to a source that was interviewed on the probable cause of the demonstrations by a local publication,

"People are protesting against this because our livelihoods have been affected. Importing foodstuffs from South Africa is our only source of income because Zimbabwe’s government has failed not only to revive industry but to provide jobs"

[2]

The demonstrators are alleged to have set a Zimra warehouse which contained seized goods and over 40 vehicles on fire.[3] The demonstrators also rolled stones and abandoned vehicles onto the road. The roads were littered with stones and drums all the way from the boarder to the Masvingo turn off along Bulawayo Road.[4]

The Government reportedly deployed members of the Zimbabwe National Army after the Zimra warehouse was burnt.[5]

The police arrested 71 people in connection with Beitbridge demonstrations and the government was said to be investigating the likelihood of a 'third force' that had incited the demonstrations. Authorities also suspected the involvement of criminal elements who deliberately stoked chaos so that they could loot goods from shops. Police were said to be investigating people wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the the hashtag “Tajamuka” which are normally worn by members of the Tajamuka/Sesjikile Campaign, while others had professionally printed banners denouncing Government’s decision to ban the bulk importation of certain commodities.[6]

Commenting on the demonstrations, Minister of State Security Kembo Mohadi said

"The way they carried out operations is unlike Zimbabweans. Our people are known for holding peaceful demonstrations rather than vandalising properties or burning tires"

[7]

Seventeen people of the 71 that were linked to the Beitbridge demonstrations were brought to a special court hearing on Sunday 3 July 2016 and were remanded in custody to 5 July 2016 for bail hearing. The suspects, 16 men and a woman, were not asked to plead when they appeared before magistrate Gloria Takundwa. They were represented by human rights lawyer, Reason Mutimba.[8] They appeared before court facing charges of public violence.[9]

The Movement for Democratic Change released a press statement applauding the Zimbabweans who rose up in Beitbridge to protest against the ban on imports of basic commodities by the Zanu-PF government.[10]




Bulawayo

6 July 2016

Police retreated as hundreds of youths carrying stones emerged throwing back teargas canisters. In Makokoba police ran away after hundreds of stone throwing youths confronted them. Police had fired teargas to force youths to disperse from the main Luveve road that leads to the Central Business District. Youths were burning tyres blocking all vehicles from using the road.

Five youths were arrested for staging a mini protest in the central business district,demanding that President Robert Mugabe steps down. One of the arrested youths was Mthokozisi Ncube, the coordinator of the Bulawayo Youths Arise. The youths sang “Mugabe must go” near the Joshua Mqabuko stature before anti-riot police in a pick up van arrived and arrested them and took them to Bulawayo Central Police Station. As they were being taken to the police station, the youths continued singing “Mugabe must go".[11]

Mufakose

6 July 2016

There were running battles between the police and residents at Magandanga area in Mufakose. Police launched teargas ,but the residents regrouped and retaliated. All schools and shops were closed and children were excited with the demonstration and were reported to have also joined.No commuter omnibuses were plying the Mufakose route and many people were in the streets which signalled that most people did not go to work. Police reportedly arrested journalists who were covering the stay away and only released them after they had deleted pictures that showed police brutality.[11]


Harare Riots

4 July 2016

Transport operators in Epworth, Mabvuku, Ruwa, Zimre Park and Borrowdale clashed with members of the Zimbabwe Police on 4 July 2016.

The commuter omnibus operators were protesting against heavy police presence on the road. Police used teargas and water cannons to disperse people gathered at various pick up points in Epworth and the protestors retaliated using stones as missiles. They also blocked the roads.[12]

As a result of the clashes the police issued a press statement warning members of the public against public violence. You can read it here. Police arrested more than 30 people in Ruwa, Mabvuku, Tafara, Epworth and Zimre Park.[13]

24 August 2016

Zimbabwean police interrupted a march by MDC-T Youths in Harare resulting in riotous activities that saw the burning of a ZBC vehicle, a Zimbabwe Republic Police vehicle, looting of shops and barricading of roads in the city centre.

26 August 2016

A High Court sanctioned demonstration organised by the a coalition of political parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda turned riotous after police fired teargas into demonstrating crowds. A number of incidents of police violent beating protestors were posted on social media. Shops where broken into and looted, Vending stalls at Copacabana were burnt down and rock & burning tyre barricades put on some roads.


References

  1. Thupeyo Muleya,Zimra suspends implementation of import regulations, Herald, published: June 20, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016
  2. Richard Chidza, Breaking: Beit-bridge shuts down, NewsDay, published: July 1, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016
  3. Breaking: Beitbridge boarder shut down over new import regulations, Herald, published: July 2, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016
  4. Beitbridge Protests Zimra warehouse torched, The Zimbabwean, published: July 2, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016
  5. Beitbridge protests:Govt deploys army after Zimra warehouse set ablaze, New Zimbabwe, published: July 2, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016
  6. Thupeyo Muleya and Kuda Bwititi,Third force behind border violence, Sunday Mail, published: July 3, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016
  7. Govt probes role of third force, Herald, published: July 4, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016
  8. Silas Nkala/Richard Chidza, Beitbridge protests: 17 appear in court, NewsDay, published: July 4, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016
  9. Thupeyo Muleya, 71 nabbed over border violence, Herald, published: July 4, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016
  10. Kurauone Chihwayi, MDC condones Beitbridge protests, The Zimbabwean, published: July 4, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016
  11. 11.0 11.1 Updates: #ShutdownZim July 6 2016, NewsDay, published: July 6, 2016, retrieved: July 7, 2016
  12. Developing: Kombi operators clash with police, Herald, published: July 4, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016
  13. 30 nabbedin Epworth, Ruwa aspolice reign in rowdy touts, Herald, published: July 5, 2016, retrieved: July 5, 2016