Jittery Mugabe puts security on high alert

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    Jittery Mugabe puts security on high alert
    by Reagan Mashavave

    HARARE - Zimbabwe's security forces were put on high alert on Tuesday, mounting road blocks in major roads leading into the city centre where they conducted vehicle and body searches to thwart a “mass protest” organised by civic society to demand freedoms.

    Plain clothes security agents and uniformed police details manned road blocks stopping buses, cars and private vehicles to conduct vehicle and body searches.

    The massive security checks came as suspected members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) questioned officials from Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) whom they suspect could be organising an Egyptian style uprising in Zimbabwe.

    But CiZC denied that they had organised such a demonstration.

    “We were visited by four members of the police force from Avondale. We are not aware of any demonstration by the organisation and I don’t think there is anything like that. We have not been informed by the leaders of Crisis about the demonstration. As secretariat, I think it’s just panic by a repressive regime.

    “The police claimed that they wanted to understand our operations but we clearly told them that we knew they suspected us of organising demos against the regime,” said a senior official of the organisation, Pedzisayi Ruhanya.

    CiZC spokesperson Phillip Pasirayi said they had never organised a demo for Tuesday. He said probably the state panicked over e-mails which originated from the United States and United Kingdom which claimed that there was going to be a massive demonstration to force President Robert Mugabe out of office.

    “We are still consulting on a demonstration against violence and human rights abuses. We are not aware of the one pencilled for Tuesday,” said Pasirayi.

    At a police roadblock mounted opposite the entrance to the Harare Agriculture show along Samora Machel Avenue, four people were taken away by security agents for allegedly carrying a catapult and a screw driver, a taxi driver at the scene told the Daily News. The Daily New saw the four being driven away

    The taxi driver said: “The four people seated under the tree were arrested after being found with a catapult, while the other one was caught with a screwdriver.”

    A police armoured vehicle with police details was seen by Daily News patrolling around the Africa Unity Square garden opposite parliament at midday.

    The police also mounted road blocks searching people along Seke Road, opposite ABC auction and along Second Street extension. Scores of people disembarking from public transport expressed concern as police conducted body and vehicle searches.

    Police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, however expressed ignorance of the presence of roadblocks around the capital or body searches that were being carried out by the police and plain clothes security agents.

    “I am not aware of any roadblocks in the capital. I am not aware of that, I have to check,” Bvudzijena said adding he was not aware that four people who were arrested by police and plain clothes security details at a roadblock along Samora Machel Avenue.

    On Monday, hordes of soldiers patrolled the streets of Harare after being dropped off by armoured vehicles at the Harare Gardens in the capital, the proposed venue for the demonstration.

    International Socialist Organisation co-ordinator, Munyaradzi Gwisai, and 44 activists were arrested and charged with treason last week for allegedly watching videos showing mass uprisings that ousted former Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and Ben Ali of Tunisia.


    Source: Daily News
     
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