Seventy-eight police officers were injured while one was killed in line of duty during last month’s violent protests instigated by the opposition MDC-Alliance, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and their civil society allies according to a report released by Government.
The officers sustained varying degrees of injuries following attacks by the violent thugs who used an assortment of weapons that included stones during the violent demonstrations. The officers’ crime was to protect life and property as the hooligans went on an orgy of violence destroying property, infrastructure and looting goods from retail outlets and other buildings.
The hooligans also torched vehicles they came across including some found parked at police stations.
Innocent citizens who were going about their business including schools children were assaulted by the violent demonstrators as anarchy reigned supreme. The three-days of violent demonstrations left a trail of destruction in different cities and towns.
It is therefore mind-boggling to hear individuals, media organisations and some non-governmental organisations and the so-called human rights lawyers claiming that the protests were peaceful and that the participants were unarmed. It is in fact an insult to business people whose buildings were burnt and goods looted as well as individuals whose cars were torched and those who were assaulted by the violent demonstrators.
We have individuals whose homes were invaded, houses, vehicles and other properties reduced to ashes and what is painful is that we have in our midst shameless individuals, organisations and “learned friends” like lawyers making wild claims that the demonstrations were peaceful. We totally agree with the President, Cde Mnangagwa that the demonstrations were neither civil nor peaceful but were in fact meant to effect a regime change. The demonstrations were violent, politically motivated, premeditated, well organised and co-ordinated.
The participants in the violent demonstrations were so determined to make the country ungovernable hence were not moved even when police officers fired warning shots to disperse the crowds. What is very worrying is that some sections of the media, NGOs and individuals are pretending no destruction took place and that no police officers were attacked and injured as they battled to protect lives and property.
It is a fact that western suburbs in Bulawayo are today without shops to service them because they were destroyed and looted.
It is high time we learned to accept the truth and differentiate between politics and national interests as Zimbabweans.
What happened last month should never be allowed to happen again and we want at this juncture to implore our security forces to always be on alert and take pre-emptive measures to protect lives and property as opposed to reacting when the country is already on fire.