HARARE – Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga has today invoked the Public Order and Security Act by requesting the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to assist police to maintain law and order following disturbances caused by MDC Alliance supporters in Harare and Bulawayo.
This was after it was realised the disturbances had reached a magnitude where police officers and their reserve members were overwhelmed. MDC Alliance supporters went on the rampage destroying property, torching vehicles, blocking roads and attacking pedestrians in Harare’s Central Business District after the opposition realised they were headed for an embarrassing defeat in the harmonised elections held on Monday this week.
Some pedestrians were robbed of their possessions. The rowdy supporters went into the streets at around 10 in the morning and continued disturbing the peace into the afternoon.
Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said they were keen to interview Mr Tendai Biti and Happyson Chidziva in connection with the disturbances.
“We are keen to interview Mr Tendai Biti and Happison Chidziva of the MDC Alliance. We are inviting them to come to CID Law and Order in Harare. They are invited so that they can assist with investigations,” she said.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba urged members of the public to refrain from committing acts of violence.
“We are urging members of the public to refrain from committing acts of violence. We want to inform the nation that the Commissioner General of Police has invoked the provisions of Section 37 (1) of the Public Order and Security Act Chapter 11.17 and approached the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to request for the assistance of the Defence Forces for the suppression of the commotion and disturbances in Harare Central Business District,” she said.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba added, “The ZDF, however, remain under the command and supervision of the Commissioner General of Police. This development has been necessitated by the fact that the degree of disturbances of law and order have reached a magnitude where our regular police officers, as well as our reserve members, have been unable to cope with this situation. We are urging members of the public to remain calm, refrain from violence and also respect the rule of law in the country.
“We will update you as the events unfold but we want to warn in no uncertain terms that those who are instigating violence should stop.”