The Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army’s timely intervention in the violent demonstrations that rocked Zimbabwe from 14th-16th January 2019 was critical in saving the situation that had gotten out of hand, if the extent of property destruction and looting that happened during the period is anything to go by.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe gives people freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate peacefully, but looking closely at the violence that took place during the demonstrations, that right and freedom was violated as the protest was violent from the onset leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Surely, attacking and besieging police stations can never be classified as a peaceful demonstration.
The rogue groups overran a number of police stations looting firearms, burning police vehicles, killing one police officer and injuring many others. One police officer was undressed and her uniform publicly burnt to ashes. She was traumatised and humiliated in full view of her colleagues and these rogue elements.
The rowdy elements also barricaded roads using burning tyres. They put huge boulders on the roads, blocked traffic, set on fire civilian vehicles and buses, looted supermarkets and destroyed tollgates. They beat up anyone who dared to proceed to work.
The magnitude of terror left the Zimbabwe Republic Police with no option but to call in the Zimbabwe National Army, who quickly moved in to quell the disturbances using appropriate force that led to the restoration of peace and order in the country.
It is important to note that the amount of force that the Zimbabwe National Army meted was appropriate to the tactics the marauding groups were using. They threatened the lives of many as they beat up soldiers and police officers, used women and children as human shields and threw missiles and stones targeting law enforcement agents.
Source : The Herald