President Emmerson Mnangagwa who had to cancel his trip to Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum says violence or misconduct by the security forces is unacceptable and is a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe.
“Chaos and insubordination will not be tolerated,” he said. “Misconduct will be investigated. If required, heads will roll.”
He was commenting on last week’s disturbances which erupted after a call by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions for a three-day stay-away.
The labour movement wanted people to demonstrate against the government’s 150 percent increase in the price of fuel as well as the deteriorating standard of living but the demonstrations turned violent with massive looting of shops especially in Bulawayo’s Western suburbs.
Mnangagwa said when he announced the fuel price hike to stabilise the country’s fuel supply, he was quite aware that the measures may not be popular. This was not a decision he took lightly but it was the right thing to do.
“What followed was regrettable and tragic,” he said.
“Everyone has the right to protest, but this was not a peaceful protest. Wanton violence and cynical destruction; looting police stations, stealing guns and uniforms; incitement and threats of violence. This is not the Zimbabwean way.”
More than 600 people were arrested during the crackdown by the security forces. The crackdown also included the shutting down of the internet which was declared illegal by the High Court yesterday.