CHITUNGWIZA – Zimbabwe is on a knife-edge with various disturbances being reported in both Harare and Chitungwiza. While striking teachers clashed with riot police in Harare on Monday, there were violent clashes in Chitungwiza on Tuesday between police and residents.
According to reports the skirmishes in Chitungwiza began as a confrontation between Zanu PF youths and touts. Residents, some armed with stones, later joined in to protest what they claim are random attacks by the police on innocent civilians.
So volatile is the situation, police are reported to have deployed more than ten truckloads of anti-riot police. Some residents blocked the road near Huruyadzo shops, vowing they would beat up any police that showed up.
President Robert Mugabe’s government is struggling to pay civil servants not only their salaries but even annual bonuses as promised. Teachers for example only got paid after Christmas, a situation that is threatening to boil over.
On Monday the Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ), together with the Zimbabwe Activist Alliance (ZAA) and the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) gathered at Market Square in the capital before toyi-toying towards Fourth Street in protest.
The placard-waving protestors came face to face with dozens of baton stick-wielding police officers in anti-riot gear at the intersection of Nelson Mandela Avenue and Third Street. The police descended on the protestors and viciously beat them up.
“Mugabe promised us our bonuses where is the bonus? Amai nababa tofa nenzara imi muchidya nekunwa kuFar East (Father and mother we are starving while you feast in a foreign land).
“No bonus, no salary, no work” and “Give our ZRP, army, nurses, doctors and teachers their salaries now,” read some of the placards.
- Nehanda Radio