Police in Zimbabwe on Thursday crushed a public demonstration staged by a group of youths from various political organizations calling themselves Tajamuka/Sesijikile who had gathered in central Harare to commemorate the Day of the African Child.
Youths from various opposition political parties and some civic organizations gathered in Harare to commemorate the Day of the African Child but the commemoration was short-lived after heavily armed police details pounced on them.
Before the commemoration was crashed, Tajamuka spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi, who also leads the Zimbabwe Informal Sector Organization, had told the gathering that President Robert Mugabe should step down immediately for failing to run the country.
Mkwananzi also castigated the sitting government for its alleged violation of the rights of the country’s citizens. He said the current cash shortages were an example that Mr. Mugabe had failed to grow the
A few minutes into Mkwananzi’s address, heavily armed cops arrived in three trucks and started assaulting the youths without even saying a word.
The youths ran in different directions while some attempted to retaliate but to no avail. In the process, four youths, who were severely injured, were arrested. They were detained at Harare Central Police station.
One of the activists, Denford Ngadziore, was later assaulted by unknown assailants at public hearing that was organized by the Harare City Council. Ngadziore has since been taken to a local clinic where he is being treated.
MDC-T youth secretary, Lovemore Chinoputsa, who survived the police crackdown, criticized the heavy handedness of the Zimbabwe Republic Police saying their actions were unconstitutional.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba told Studio 7 by phone that the police would be out in full force to ensure that there was peace in the country. She added that the Tajamuka youths did not seek police
clearance to commemorate the Day of the African Child.
But Mkwananzi issued a statement late this afternoon saying they have lined up a series of protests until President Mugabe leaves office. He said they would not seek police clearance, arguing that they would not do so in an independent Zimbabwe.
The Day of the African Child is celebrated annually on June 16th to honour South Africans, who participated and were brutalized by the colonial regime in the Soweto Uprising in 1976. Hundreds of youth were shot and some died in protests against the poor quality of education and the right to be taught in their own language instead of Afrikaans.
The theme of this year's Day of the African Child is ‘Right to participate: Let Children be seen and heard’.