News / Africa

Violence Reported in Harare as Mugabe Calls for Peace

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (C) leaves after opening the 4th Session of the 7th Parliament in Harare September 6, 2011.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (C) leaves after opening the 4th Session of the 7th Parliament in Harare September 6, 2011.
Peta Thornycroft

President Robert Mugabe opened a new session of Zimbabwe’s parliament Tuesday saying there should be no more political violence. But shortly before he spoke, members of his ZANU-PF party were beating up members of the public, as well as a freelance journalist and a city councilor, in a small park opposite parliament.

President Robert Mugabe arrived at parliament accompanied by a traditional cavalcade of mounted soldiers and the presidential guard to open a new legislative year.

As he was getting out of his vehicle, crowds of his ZANU-PF supporters, some dressed in party regalia, were throwing stones and beating up some members of the public walking through the central park, called Africa Unity Square.

A few streets west of parliament, the Movement for Democratic Change party, which is in a difficult 30-month-old inclusive government with ZANU-PF, decided to close the steel entrance gates to its  headquarters to protect party officials inside.

A member of the security team protecting the party leadership, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was in the city center monitoring the violence.

"What I saw there it was actually terrible, people were being harassed in the park, Africa Unity Square by ZANU-PF people,” he said.

He said the violence continued against civilians as Mugabe and his wife Grace arrived outside parliament.

“They were singing party songs and slogans and if you failed to answer the slogan then they will start beating you, even stones they were throwing, everything,” he said.

Since the unity government came to power in 2009, several months after disputed and violence-plagued elections, MDC officials, legislators and party supporters have suffered from recurring attacks and arrests, usually at the hands of state security forces.

Despite protests to Mugabe and police chiefs, the violence continues, although at a lower level than after the 2008 elections won by the MDC.

The MDC says the Zimbabwean police is a partisan force which does not protect people unless they are members of ZANU-PF.

Uniformed and plainclothes detectives were posted throughout the city center before the opening of parliament.

"Police were there, the whole town, the police were there but they were doing nothing," he said. "They were there. The way I see it we will have so many people being hurt, when people are actually throwing stones it means something very bad, that is not good, they do not have to do that, we are in an inclusive government so I do not see the reason why should be fighting. “

Police spokesmen were not available for comment Tuesday.  

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, a ZANU-PF member, said he did not see people being beaten up outside parliament and asked for video proof of the violence.

Meanwhile, Mugabe told parliament foreign investment is safe in Zimbabwe as long as the country’s laws are obeyed. The laws demand that 51 percent of all companies be sold to black Zimbabwean shareholders.

Mugabe also said the inclusive government is drawing up a new constitution before new elections.

Last week, for the first time, Mugabe conceded elections would not take place this year. At ZANU-PF’s annual conference last December, the party resolved new polls would be held in 2011 to end the inclusive government.

Since then the MDC and ZANU-PF have been negotiating a roadmap towards elections.

Mugabe also repeated what he has said several times this year, that there should be no more political violence in Zimbabwe.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs