A group of activists running a 16- day campaign against President Robert Mugabe’s alleged misrule was yesterday attacked at its base at Africa Unity Square by suspected Zanu PF thugs who demanded they vacate the area and stop the campaign.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Three activists were injured when 14 assailants reportedly stormed the Square at around 2am and beat up the demonstrators, stealing their phones and cash in the process.
Lynette Mudehwe, one of the demonstrators, said she was awakened by the men, some of whom had guns.
“The man in charge ordered me to hand over my phones but I told him I didn’t have any,” Mudehwe said.
“He then ordered me to produce everything in my pockets and I pulled toiletries and handed them to him. The man pulled open his coat and showed me a gun and at that point I decided to co-operate. He searched me and took away my phones and my metal national ID card.”
She said other demonstrators were also harassed and intimidated while three were severely assaulted.
Mudehwe, however, vowed their campaign would continue and that they would remain in the park until June 16.
Another demonstrator, Patson Dzamara also said the activists would not be deterred by the attack.
“We are in day number four and we are in this Square to register our displeasure over how things have been unfolding in our country. We are also trying to galvanise as many people as possible into taking a stand against the failures of our government,” Dzamara said.
“Unfortunately in the early hours of today, something terrible happened. We had intruders at around 1:30am. About 14 guys came and forcibly took our possessions, including cellphones and money, but we managed to retrieve some of the items. About three of our guys sustained injuries and they are being attended to as we speak.”
He added: “We suspect that these are state-propelled individuals who were sent to disrupt the campaign we are engaging in. We believe this is something to do with the state although they were in plain clothes. We certainly do believe that this had the orchestration of the state.”
Dzamara said the activists would beef up their security measures.
“We are going to continue and this actually motivates us to fight even more. We are actually encouraging young people out there to come and join us,” he said.
“The reason why these people came and outnumbered us is because we were few, about seven of us. It’s encouraging, as you can see more young people are joining us and the reason why they are joining us is because of what they have seen.”
A number of other young people, including former Zanu PF activist Acie Lumumba were in the Square.
Lumumba said they were looking at ways of finding a political solution to Zimbabwe and possibly sue President Mugabe for lying that he was going to create 2,2 million jobs for the nation during his 2013 election campaign.
“We are also exploring legal routes possible to indict the president and Zanu PF for the promises they made but haven’t kept. They have to feel the consequences of lying to the people that they would provide 2,2 million jobs and not providing them. Surely there has to be legal consequences,” Lumumba said.