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Zimbabwe Police Block Zanu PF Youth Protests

Police in Zimbabwe have over the years been associated with brutal attacks on protestors. (File Photo)
Police in Zimbabwe have over the years been associated with brutal attacks on protestors. (File Photo)

Police on Thursday blocked Zanu PF youths from protesting on the streets against alleged corruption and victimization of party members, who are either officials or students at Belvedere Technical Teachers College in Harare.

The Officer Commanding Harare Central district, Chief Superintendent Norbet Saunyama, told the youths to shelve their protest until “the situation is calm in Harare.”

Although he did not specify what he meant, tensions have been rising in Zanu PF’s Harare province as factions jostle for positions ahead of the party’s elective congress in December.

Just last week, the police also blocked another protest march by Zanu PF youths targeting Harare South lawmaker, Shadreck Mashayamombe, who is accused of opposing First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rise to the helm of the party’s Women’s League.

But Thursday, the youth from Zanu PF’s Harare Central One District, covering the Belvedere area, ignored the police’s instructions and converged at their college, intending to march and present a petition to parliament and the higher and tertiary education head office in the city centre.

Anti-riot police dispersed them saying their demonstration was illegal as it had not been sanctioned.

One of the organizers of the failed demo, Richard Samunda, accused Higher Education permanent secretary, Washington Mbizvo, of victimizing acting college principal, Patrick Chinhoro.

Samunda claimed that Chinhoro was removed from the college for fighting corruption.

The youths said the demo was against ministry officials like Mbizvo, who they accused of promoting corruption.

He said Chinhoro is a party cadre and should not be persecuted for fighting graft.

Sources told Studio 7 a new substantive principal has been appointed to take over from Chinhoro beginning next week when colleges open.

Mbizvo could not be reached for comment while Chinhoro said he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Zimbabwe National Students Union president, Gilbert Mutubuki, slammed the Zanu PF youths saying they should stay away from colleges.

He added that the youths should have demonstrated against parastatal executives, who are earning “obscene” salaries in what has been dubbed salarygate, if they are serious about fighting corruption in the country.

A recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General showed that Belvedere Teachers College could have lost more than $500,000 between 2009 and 2012 through the issuance of fraudulent receipts and breach of procurement procedures.