If the Zimbabwean government is determined to account for leaders of the various groups that took part in last week’s protests over fuel price increases, it should proceed to apprehend Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
MDC Vice President Morgen Komichi shared the above sentiment on Tuesday while addressing a media briefing at the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House in Harare amid unwearying claims by the government that their party instigated the deadly protests.
Mr Komichi said the state was mistaken in its attempts to classify protesters according to their political parties and other group identities as the protests were citizen-led.
“If we really go back to what happened last week, it was a citizen movement. That is citizens standing up against the government. Why then be selective and choose the MDC because among the people that were killed, victimised, are some from the Catholic diocese, some from the vendors, it was a mixture of all those people.
Why then be selective and say MDC alone was responsible for the action? If they are to arrest the MDC leadership, they must go and arrest the Pope at the Vatican and the Anglican Bishop because their people were also involved in these mass demonstrations.
We do not want to create a situation where they put the blame on us. The challenge of last week was the people’s challenge and actually triggered by President Mnangagwa himself.”
The state has allegedly targeted opposition activists and trade union leaders for fomenting the riots that engulfed the country for three days last week in which citizens protested their resentment of the government-implemented 150 percent price hike on fuel.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said the protests and clampdowns by the state security left twelve people dead, seventy-eight with gunshot wounds, two-hundred-and-forty-two with dog bites and 466+ people arrested and detained.
Four MDC MPs, Amos Chibaya, Livingstone Chimina, Lloyd Mukapiko and Settlement Chikwinya, have since been arrested facing subversion charges which carry up to 20 years imprisonment if found guilty.
MDC has petitioned Parliament over these “unwarranted arrests and persecution” of its Members of Parliament.
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