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Zanu PF youths target foreign owned businesses in Harare
Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
February 07, 2011

A group of marauding Zanu PF youths allegedly clad in Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) t-shirts destroyed and looted property and goods at the Gulf Complex in Harare during the morning of Monday, February 07, 2011.

The youths brought business to a standstill in Harare's down town after they besieged businesses belonging to foreign nationals demanding them to leave immediately in a typical xenophobia style.

The youths, who gathered at the party's headquarters and the party's district offices next to the Fourth Street bus terminus early in the morning, were ferried in vehicles to the Gulf complex where they were allegedly targeting businesses belonging to Nigerian and Chinese owners.

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) witnessed the marauding youths as they marched in Harare's down town areas singing revolutionary songs and disrupted businesses at the Gulf Shopping Complex, Ximex Mall and several other shops along Harare and Kaguvi Streets.

The melee that ensued during the violent demonstrations led to the total closure of the Gulf Complex as the police officers yielding button sticks moved to quell the disruptions. A heavy police presence could be seen around the Gulf Complex and other nearby shops.

The majority of the business owners comprising of Nigerian, Indian and Chinese nationals had to close shop fearing that the aggressive youths would loot their goods.

Sources close to the demonstrators later on revealed that the Zanu PF youths had just started a campaign for indigenization targeting foreign nationals in line with the Indigenisation Act. The attacks on foreign owned shops by the Zanu PF youths are in line with the country's Indigenisation Act which seeks to takeover all foreign owned businesses and hand them over to blacks. The attacks come barely a month after war veterans tried, unsuccessfully, to invade businesses around Lake Chivero riding on the regulations of the disputed Indigenisation Act being administered by the ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment.

Meanwhile, political violence that hit the restive suburb of Mbare has spread to Epworth where a group of Zanu PF youths were allegedly destroying flea market stands belonging to suspected MDC-T supporters.

A ZPP monitor based in Epworth said the attacks started around midnights on Sunday, February 6, 2011 and continued until Monday around midday.

ZPP caught up with another group of the Zanu PF youth militias in Epworth who were travelling in a white Toyota Hiace commuter omni-bus with registration number ABB 9555. The youths who were visibly drunk were peeping through the windows of the moving kombi singing political party and revolutionary songs.

The areas that were allegedly affected by the attacks in Epworth included the flea markets at Solani Business Centre, Chiremba Shopping Centre and Domboramwari shopping centre near the Local Board offices.

However it could not be established whether there were any victims who were caught up in the distraction of the flea markets which the Zanu PF youths believe were built by the MDC-T for its supporters.

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