Walter Nyamukondiwa and Blessings Chidakwa
GOVERNMENT has assured the business community and citizens that it will put in place systems to protect lives and property while ensuring that violence and looting that cost Mashonaland West thousands of dollars does not recur.
This comes as Government has said it will set up a fund to offer concessionary loans to reconstruct damaged structures and replace looted stock, while providing counselling services to traumatised victims.
Speaking during a tour of businesses and properties that were affected in the violent protests that rocked the country last month, Minister of State in Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s office Evelyn Ndlovu said many innocent people were affected by the orgy of violence.
“As Government, we would like to assure the population that we will put in place systems to protect businesses and the vulnerable who are taken advantage of during such demonstrations,” she said.
“We are saying to our people that we need to learn from what happened and say it is not good to fight. For us to revive this economy, we need to work together and support each other. The service that one gives to you, appreciate it. Gone are the days when we used to look up to whites and Indians for services.”
Minister Ndlovu led members of the Mashonaland West provincial Joint Operations Command (JOC) in assessing the level of damage, losses and subsequent support from Government business operators should expect.
The team toured shops in Chinhoyi, Kadoma and Zvimba where varying degrees of damage to property and looting occurred between January 14 and 15.
Minister Ndlovu said some people were taking advantage of the freedoms provided by the Constitution to destabilise the country, but Government was wiser now and would be proactive.
Business owners gave harrowing narrations of how gangs of people broke into their premises, getting away with electrical gadgets such as computers, laptops, accessories and grocery stock.
A director at Chicken Lounge in Chinhoyi, Mrs Nomore Kabondo, thanked Government for showing concern for their misfortune, saying it was difficult to recover without support.
“The objective of the so-called demonstrators was not to demonstrate, but they were organised people who had long targeted this fast food outlet,” she said.
Bustech Shop director Mrs Faresi Zizi told the inter-ministerial committee that they suffered losses of nearly $20 000, saying they had to replace office equipment, swipe machines, books, computers and accessories.
The taskforce later toured various properties that were destroyed by MDC-Alliance hooligans a fortnight ago.