Zimbabwe faces a major wave of deadly violence and crime since the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions called for a three-day national strike. Ugly scenes of massive looting were experienced in the country today.
Looters appeared in the streets and targeted mostly supermarkets. Both men and women were seen breaking into supermarkets and robbing food. Small stores and shops rapidly shut down for safety reasons as riot police patrolled the streets and a military helicopter flew over the capital.
Widespread looting continued in all major cities, most affected were Harare, Bulawayo, Chitungwiza and Kadoma. The chaos reflects a nationwide crises blamed largely on the fuel hikes announced by President Mnangagwa on Saturday.
The TM supermarket at Machipisa Shopping Centre in Highfield, was looted dry. Looters also damaged property such as vehicles, shops and pharmacies. The fuel increase is the latest hike that has seen prices for basic commodities and public transport sky-rocketing. Leaving many Zimbabweans, whose salaries have not increased at the same rate, fast losing confidence in the country’s leadership and government systems.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi warned the demonstrators against violence.
“We want to warn and categorically state that police will ensure that arrests are effected particularly in Bulawayo and Harare, where we have seen groups of youths and syndicates burning vehicles, barricading roads with tyres and stones, looting shops, attacking law enforcement officers and intimidating members of the public. What they are doing is unlawful.
Chief Supt Nyathi states that the Police force will be using video clips circulating on social media and what’sapp to conduct full investigations and arrests will certainly be effected.
“We are aware that there are people who are using the social media to encourage people to engage in all sorts of violence and threatening people,” said Chief Supt Nyathi.