Felex Share Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday denounced violence, saying while it is everyone’s right to protest, any demonstration should be done peacefully and within the law.
The President, who was away in Eurasia when MDC-Alliance and its affiliates unleashed an orgy of violence on the public, said the nation should be united and begin a national dialogue for the economy to grow.
And the statesman said Zimbabweans should engage in dialogue since divisions were superficial. He placed primacy on putting the economy and people first.
“One week ago, I announced measures to stabilise our nation’s crucial fuel supply,” he said in a statement on his Twitter handle.
“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.”
The premeditated demonstrations, which were supported by foreign funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social groups such as #Tajamuka and #This Flag, left six people, including a police officer, dead.
Property worth millions of dollars was destroyed. President Mnangagwa said Government will investigate allegations of misconduct by rogue elements.
He urged Zimbabweans to be united and focus on growing the economy.
“I invite leaders of all political parties as well as religious and civil leaders to set aside our differences and come together,” he said.
“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.”
More than 700 people have been arrested while others were jailed over the protests.
Also involved in the three-day orgy of violence was the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).Leaders of social groups, Tajamuka and #ThisFlag movement have been arrested. Evan Mawarire (#This Flag) was remanded in custody to January 31.
He is facing allegations of subverting a constitutionally elected Government or alternatively inciting public violence.