No ‘Arab Spring’ In Zimbabwe, Mugabe Warns Protesters


HARARE – President Robert Mugabe warned protesters on Friday there would be no “Arab Spring” in Zimbabwe after anti-government demonstrations descended into one of the worst violence seen in the southern African nation for two decades.

Zimbabwean police fired tear gas and water cannon at opposition leaders and hundreds of demonstrators at a protest against Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF, before unrest swept across large parts of the capital Harare.

“They are thinking that what happened in the Arab Spring is going to happen in this country but we tell them that it is not going to happen here,” Mugabe told state television, referring to a series of uprisings that toppled leaders across the Arab world.

Mugabe accused Western countries, including the United States, of sponsoring the protests.

“They are fighting because of Americans,” said Mugabe.

Earlier, opposition head Morgan Tsvangirai and former vice president Joice Mujuru fled a rally in their cars while protesters ran for cover as police broke up the core of the demonstration. However, anti-Mugabe leaders warned that this would be the first of a series of protests.

Mugabe’s opponents have become emboldened by rising public anger and protests over an economic meltdown, cash shortages and high unemployment. Mugabe, 92, has led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

Clashes spread through the streets of the capital Harare as riot police fought running battles with protesters who hurled rocks at officers, set tyres ablaze and burned a popular market to the ground, in some of the worst unrest since food riots in 1998.

Didymus Mutasa, a senior official from Mujuru’s party and convener of Friday’s protest, vowed to repeat the demonstration a week from now and blamed police for the violence and disobeying a court order allowing the march to proceed.

“If that was intended to cow us from demonstrating, I want to say the opposite has been the case. We are going next Friday to do exactly the same as we have done today,” Mutasa told reporters.

Most businesses shut down early on Friday fearing looting by protesters. Mujuru said 50 people were injured and hospitalized.

“Mugabe’s rule must end now, that old man has failed us,” said one protester before throwing a rock at a taxi.

RIOT POLICE

More than a hundred police officers in riot gear, backed up by water cannons and armored trucks, occupied the venue that opposition parties planned to use for their demonstration.

As opposition supporters arrived for the march, they were told by the police to leave. The officers then fired tear gas and water cannon when parts of the crowd refused to comply.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said the force was still assessing the day’s events. “We will let you know once we are done,” she said.

Officials from Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party were unavailable for comment.

“Demonstrating is the only solution left to force the dictator out of office,” said Tapfuma Make, an unemployed 24-year-old from Chitungwiza town, south of Harare.

Zimbabwe’s High Court earlier ruled that police should allow the protest to proceed between 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. (6.00 a.m.-10.00 a.m. ET) in what Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) called a “victory for democracy”.

“Today has been for me the worst day that I have lived in this country, where I have observed with my own eyes, the state breaking its own laws and the state starting violence by attacking people who were just gathered together,” Mutasa said.

Opposition parties leading the protests say the electoral agency is biased in favor of the ruling ZANU-PF and is run by security agents loyal to Mugabe, charges the commission denies.

The protesters want the next vote in 2018 to be supervised by international observers, including the United Nations. They are also calling for Mugabe to fire corrupt ministers, scrap plans to introduce local bank notes and end cash shortages.

The latest demonstrations come nearly two months after the biggest large scale ‘stay at home’ strike in Zimbabwe since 2007, inspired by social media movements such as #ThisFlag led by pastor Evan Mawarire.

Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo on Thursday called opposition leaders “foreign agents” using protests to cause chaos in order to justify international intervention.

Reuters

Related Posts
Mugabe family courts Tony Blair associate over bankrupt Omega Dairy
First Lady Grace Mugabe has turned to Nigerian billionaire Tony Elumulu to save her family's struggling Gushungo Holdings which is reeling under an unsustainable US$20 million debt amid theft and ...
READ MORE
‘Robert Mugabe is in trouble’ – Makandiwa
United Family International Church (UFIC) leader, Emmanuel Makandiwa, on Sunday fumed at President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet and advisers, accusing them of working against the 92 year-old ruler. The charismatic prophet was ...
READ MORE
Robert Mugabe’s holiday spending under the spotlight as economy faces crisis
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has begun his annual month long vacation in the Far East, days after firing his deputy and reshuffling his cabinet. The trip is set to trigger the ...
READ MORE
Robert Mugabe faces ouster in six months?
POPULAR Nigerian prophet, Temitope Balogun Joshua, commonly referred to as TB Joshua, has predicted turmoil for a southern African president between February and April this year, a forecast likely to ...
READ MORE
Mugabe, not cops, to decide Mujuru’s fate
FORMER vice-president Joice Mujuru’s fate rests with President Robert Mugabe who is expected to decide whether she should be prosecuted on graft charges when he returns from his holiday in ...
READ MORE
12 parties gang up on Mugabe
Twelve political parties have ganged up on President Robert Mugabe (pictured) and are planning a massive joint mass protest to demand the immediate implementation of electoral reforms ahead of the ...
READ MORE
SADC Summit: Khama blasts Robert Mugabe
HARARE - Botswana President Ian Khama apparently clashed with President Robert Mugabe at the Sadc summit in Harare on Wednesday in front of other regional heads of State and government ...
READ MORE
Mliswa woos war veterans
HARARE - Former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairperson Temba Mliswa — who is standing as an independent in the Norton by-election — has challenged war veterans to show long-suffering Zimbabweans ...
READ MORE
Zanu PF’s crude populist politics ruining economy
LAST week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Zimbabwe’s economic situation, currently plagued by inexorably slumping business activity and low capital inflows, has further deteriorated due to embedded structural problems ...
READ MORE
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (C) inspects an honor guard on October 28, 2014 during the official opening of the second session of the parliament in Harare. Mugabe opened parliament on October 28 with a warning that locals who front for foreign firms trying to dodge indigenisation laws face "decisive action". In 2007, Zimbabwe enacted a so-called "indigenisation law," forcing foreign-owned firms to hand over at least 51 percent of shareholding to local partners.
AFP PHOTO / JEKESAI NJIKIZANA
FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s People First (PF) political movement has warned army officers and securocrats to stay clear of civilian political processes and making inflammatory statements that could trigger civil ...
READ MORE
Mugabe family courts Tony Blair associate over bankrupt
‘Robert Mugabe is in trouble’ – Makandiwa
Robert Mugabe’s holiday spending under the spotlight as
Robert Mugabe faces ouster in six months?
Mugabe, not cops, to decide Mujuru’s fate
12 parties gang up on Mugabe
SADC Summit: Khama blasts Robert Mugabe
Mliswa woos war veterans
Zanu PF’s crude populist politics ruining economy
Back off: Mujuru tells Robert Mugabe’s army

Arts & Entertainment

mary-j-hillary
Arts & Entertainment

Mary J Blige mocked on Twitter for serenading Hillary Clinton

29th September 2016 Staff Reporter 0

R’n’b singer Mary J Blige has inadvertently become the butt of jokes after serenading presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. The No More Drama songstress burst into song in a preview for her sit-down with the Democratic […]

Singer Bruce Springsteen performs with the E Street Band during his concert in Cape Town, in this January 26, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files
Arts & Entertainment

Bruce Springsteen becomes a best-selling author before he’s even been published

29th September 2016 Staff Reporter 0

It was Bruce Springsteen’s elated feeling after performing at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2009 with the E Street Band led him to write about his experiences. Seven years later, the iconic musician had […]