Property worth thousands of dollars went up in smoke after looters from Zanu PF militia went on rampage at Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, targeting foreign owned companies, mainly Nigerian.
Hundreds of Zanu PF youths besieged Gulf Complex in the Harare Central Business this morning (February 7).
According to witnesses, the youths first congregated at the Zanu PF headquarters early morning before driving past the MDC party headquarters, Harvest House, in seven trucks.
They then marched to the Gulf Complex, which mainly houses Nigerian businesses, where they looted goods and property. An act that forced nearby businesses to shut down.
Sources close the the Gulf Complex say that Harare’s anti-riot police forces are now patrolling the streets.
Observers say that promises from some leaders to dish out flea markets and businesses being run by foreigners to Zanu PF youths, who were made to fill in application forms, has contributed to an uneasy atmosphere in Zimbabwe’s capital, where Zanu PF flags are now flying at most flea markets in the capital.
Off the mark
The attacks follow Defence minister Emerson Mnangagwa’s vow over the weekend to get tough with both perpetrators and political leaders bent on instigating violence or any such acts amid fears that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party was planning an uprising.
And although Mnangagwa said he was considering strict measures to deal with public demonstrations and that the army was on “full alert” the police say that “no-one has been arrested” over the morning chaos.
In a live programme on State TV, the Defence minister said MDC youths stand warned against initiating Egypt style protests.
“We are determined to make sure that there is peace. Those who may want to emulate what has happened in Tunisia, what is happening in Egypt they will regret because we will not allow any chaos in this country,” Mnangagwa warned.
Meanwhile, the MDC has dismissed as false claims made by Zanu PF that it had uncovered a plot by MDC Tsvangirai party to make the country ungovernable in order to foil the elections.
Police weighs in
Police have also weighed in, saying they are under instruction to deal with violent elements impartially and decisively without fear or favour of any political party.
The MDC says clashes in the capital between the movement and Zanu PF supporters in the last two weeks, which has left party supporters gravely injured, houses burnt and others displaced from their homes, were deliberately provoked by Zanu PF.
Mugabe’s nephew invades
Last week, President Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, led a group of militant war veterans to invade one of the prime tourism ventures at Lake Chivero, about 30km west of Harare.
About 300 rowdy people who were waving Zanu PF flags took over lodges, boating clubs and chalets on the shores of the lake saying it was part of the government’s controversial policy to indigenise the economy.
Zhuwao was defiant in saying he agreed with people in his constituency to “tackle the racists and this time around we are going to research on the proper procedure and we are going to do it again.”
“We intend to occupy properties along Lake Chivero which have become a hiding place for former Rhodesian war veterans who have maintained their racist tendencies in the area.”
“Whilst the process and procedure may have needed to be improved, I still feel, together with the community that there is gross social injustice that continues to be perpetrated by remnants of racists in most of the clubs,” he said.
He says he will never allow any form of perceived white superiority in any part of his constituency.