By Staff Reporter
ARMED soldiers and police officers in the early hours of Wednesday placed Kwekwe central business district under virtual lockdown as commuters were not allowed to enter the city centre.
Thousands of residents who work in the CBD and others seeking various services in the city centre were left stranded after being turned away at security checkpoints leading into the central business district.
On Tuesday, thousands of workers and shoppers in Bulawayo were also chased away and assaulted by the security agents in the city centre.
Mnangagwa owns a farm and has several business interests in the gold mining town.
He was also a one time MP in the town.
There were numerous security checkpoints into Kwekwe CBD manned by police and the army with residents in possession of exemption letters, ordered to go back home.
“We were told to disembark from a ZUPCO bus just before the Redcliff turn-off. We thought as per norm, the soldiers and police would ask for exemption letters,” a disappointed commuter Vongai Mavetera said.
“We were however shocked when we were ordered to return home without any explanation. They told us only nurses, police and the army were allowed to get into the CBD.”
In low-income suburbs such as Mbizo and Amaveni, commuters were also ordered to disembark from ZUPCO buses and walk back home. No refunds for bus fare were made.
“When we arrived at Zimasco on our way to our workstation in the CBD, we were surprised when the police ordered us to turn back home. This was despite the fact that we had exemption letters from our employers,” Jameson Shumba told NewZimbabwe.com.
In Harare Monday, thousands of workers were also turned away at police and army checkpoints where they were told to stay home and join Mnangagwa in his National Day of Prayer and Fasting held on that day.
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya confirmed residents had been turned away despite possessing the requisite exemption letters.
“Residents have confirmed they were turned away from accessing the CBD, but the police and army are not stating reasons why they are denying them to report for work. Most residents I have spoken to possess travel passes authorised by both the district administrator and the DISPOL (Officer Commanding District),” Chikwinya said.
However, senior police and army officials have said they were unaware that people in possession of valid travel papers are being turned away and harassed at security checkpoints.