HARARE – Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday vowed to take action against security forces guilty of misconduct.
“Violence or misconduct by our security forces is unacceptable and a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe. Chaos and insubordination will not be tolerated. Misconduct will be investigated. If required, heads will roll,” he said.
Mnangagwa denounced protests in the country. He returned to the country on Monday, amid rolling protests and a heavy-handed clampdown by police and the military, which has been widely condemned by human rights groups.
The protests flared up after Mnangagwa hiked fuel prices by 150%.
Mnangagwa said via his Twitter account: “One week ago, I announced measures to stabilise our nation’s crucial fuel supply. I was aware that these measures may not be popular, and this was not a decision we took lightly. But it was the right thing to do.
“What followed was regrettable and tragic. Everyone has the right to protest, but this was not a peaceful protest. Wanton violence and cynical destruction; looting police stations, stealing guns and uniforms; incitement and threats of violence. This is not the Zimbabwean way.”
Mnangagwa invited leaders of all political parties as well as religious and civil leaders “to set aside our differences and come together”.
“What unites us is stronger than what could ever divide us. Let’s begin a national dialogue. Let’s put the economy first. Let’s put the people first,” he said.
Mnangagwa’s remarks were met with a mixture of criticism and support.
“You can’t invite people you are imprisoning in Chikurubhi maximum prison to come together with you. Most of the opposition political leaders, trade unionists and civil society leaders are in your prisons. Instead, free all political prisoners first, then dialogue comes later,” said Makomborero Haruzivishe on Twitter.
Le Betha tweeted: “That’s the only way to save Zim our beautiful country now. People need to be humble and have a dialogue to map a strategy that would take our motherland forward … For once I agree with you Mr President.”