Biti’s offices again besieged by rowdy ZANU PF crowd

June 28, 2011 at 8:15 am Leave a comment

By Tichaona Sibanda

Over a thousand ZANU PF supporters, bussed in mainly from rural areas,
stormed the offices of the Ministry of Finance on Monday and shockingly
threatened to beat up or kill Minister Tendai Biti.

The ZANU PF thugs, who held office workers hostage from 11am until early
evening, sang derogatory songs against Biti and his MDC-T party. The crowd,
which initially gathered at the ZANU PF provincial offices along Fourth
Street in central Harare, marched to Biti’s office building under a police
escort.

Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa said when the protesters got to the offices
they sealed all entry and exit points. With the help of the police a few of
their ring leaders went up to the sixth floor where Biti’s office is housed.
The Minister, who had been tipped off, had by then escaped unnoticed from
the building.

‘What was shocking was how the police were complicit in this protest. As
they moved up the floors to Biti’s office the police left other officers to
guard the floors in case the Minister used the stairways to try and escape,’
Muchemwa said.

He added; ‘The protesters were demanding to hear from Biti why government
was not prepared to increase salaries for civil servants.’

Muchemwa said at one time the leaders of the demonstration were heard
complaining about why Webster Shamu, the ZANU PF national commissar, was
ordering them to end the protest.

Our correspondent who mingled with the crowd overheard numerous telephone
conversations between the protest leaders and senior ZANU PF officials, one
of them believed to be Shamu.

‘I could hear them say lets finish with Biti today, lets not end our
protests now because Shamu is ordering us to back off. Why did he (Shamu)
send us here in the first place when the business is not yet finished,’
Muchemwa added.

This is the third time in three months that Biti’s offices have been
besieged by ZANU PF supporters and war vets.

Two weeks ago a group of war vets surrounded Biti’s offices demanding that
he sign a petition calling for lifting of targeted western sanctions against
Robert Mugabe and his cronies.

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