Government has tightened security today in Harare at all major roadblocks, barring people from entering into the Central Business District including those covered under the essential services which were allowed by the government to operate under the current lockdown.
The development comes a day before the commencement of the highly anticipated 31 July demonstration which has been called for by various opposition politicians and civic organisations in the country for almost a month now.
A tour conducted by the reporter today reveals that security forces were turning away almost every person from getting into the CBD except nurses, soldiers, security guards and policemen. Other workers from essential businesses like supermarkets, pharmacies and banks were being turned away even when they produced their letters of exemption.
Our reporters also struggled to pass through at a roadblock which was erected at corner Jason Moyo and Rotten Row next to the Netone building as one of the police officers who were manning the area said everyone has been given a free leave to rest at home.
“No one is allowed to get into town today. The government has given every person a free leave so go back home and spend quality time with your families” said the police officer in a fiercely roaring tone.
Our reporter was allowed to get into town after minutes of negotiations only to find out that a lot of businesses and shops were being forced to close down by police officers.
Our reporter witnessed a nasty scene where soldiers cleared shoppers in one of the TM/Pick n Pay supermarket in Orr Street and ordered the shop to close.
Almost every shop in the capital city had closed down by 11:30am and soldiers were patrolling the streets ordering people to leave.
Efforts to get a comment from Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Nick Mangwana to establish the reason behind the sudden heavy handedness of the security forces were fruitless as their phones were not being answered by the time of publishing.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday warned the organisers of the demonstration that security forces will be vigilant and on high alert to appropriately respond to their shenanigans while addressing members of the Zanu PF Politburo.
The 31 July demonstration was planned by Transform Zimbabwe Leader Jacob Ngarivhume who was recently arrested for inciting public violence.