ZANU-PF thugs, under the direction of party leadership, in the capital of Zimbabwe posed as aggrieved street vendors and started riots in the Central Business District (CBD) on Tuesday, according to sources speaking with SaharaReporters. A SaharaReporters correspondent in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, learned of the premeditated riot as it broke out and witnessed the anti-riot police stationed in CBD.
Sources at the scene of the riots told SaharaReporters through text message that anti-riot police immediately began using tear gas against the thugs who began damaging vendor goods and the offices of the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ). NAVUZ, among other responsibilities, is an advocate for street vendors and businesses in Harare.
Spiked news, an independent media organization based in Harare, reported that Stendrick Zvorwadza, the Chairman of NAVUZ, denied that the riots were started by street vendors or any of their members.
Mr. Zvorwadza pointed out in his statement to Spiked, that “the NAVUZ offices were also stoned by the same rogue youths who were claiming to be vendors and belonging to NAVUZ.”
Activists echoed this observation saying that there was little precedent or evidence to explain why street vendors would suddenly
attack NAVUZ offices, according to text messages read by SaharaReporters.
According to a Daily News report by Farayi Machamire, the latest bout of violence is connected to growing internal unrest within ZANU-PF. ZANU-PF party insiders, speaking to the reporter, said that these “vendors” were members of a “secessionist faction.” The secessionist faction refers to growing support for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is rumored to be undermining President Mugabe, hoping to replace him in the 2018 election.
ZANU-PF Youth Chairman Kudzani Chipanga denied that ZANU-PF was behind the riots, instead blaming it on members of the Movement for Democratic Chance (MDC) opposition party.
These riots follow a ban on all protests in Harare as a ZANU-PF response citizens protesting against the government’s repressive political and economic policies.