Police evade questions on war vets demo

HARARE - Police have refused to explain why they failed to act on war veterans who besieged the New Government Complex, grounding government business to a halt in at least four ministries.

The war veterans, who were demonstrating against Finance minister Tendai Biti, held all civil servants at the complex hostage, barring anyone from going in and coming out.

Biti said the war veterans — who also threatened Daily News journalists covering the story — were barking up the wrong tree as he did not have exclusive power to change the law to increase war veterans’ allowances.

Biti also blamed the police and the army for not taking action, saying they were selectively applying the law as they were fast to respond to civil rights protests by groups such as Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) march for human rights, and yet were lethargic in dealing with the war veterans’ lawlessness.

Harare provincial police spokesperson Tedious Chibanda declined to comment referring the Daily News to the national police spokesperson.

“Those issues are commented on at national level, we do not talk at provincial level,” he said.

National police spokesperson Charity Charamba said she was off duty while her deputy Oliver Mandipaka told the Daily News to call after an hour. He was not picking up his phone after that.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association leader Jabulani Sibanda has disowned the war veterans who picketed the government complex saying the demonstrators were a group of people who were after “cheap publicity.”

Government business in the ministries of Justice and Legal Affairs, Higher and Tertiary Education, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion and Finance ground to a halt, with the State losing thousands of dollars.

The Attorney General’s office, housed in the New Government Complex, was also adversely affected by the war veterans’ disruptive behaviour.

The Daily News could not quantify how much the war veterans’ two-day strike that sealed off the offices cost government in lost revenue and downtime. -
Bridget Mananavire

    Comments (1)

    The police are scared of the few genuine war vets that are left. They find it safer to bully people at road blocks and traffic lights where they can't get hurt.

    Peter Macklyn - 7 October 2012

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