Heavily armed anti-riot police officers this Friday swooped on motor spare dealers operating in central Harare, before randomly arresting registered shop owners on allegations of violating the current Covid19 lockdown regulations.
In the morning, hoardes of anti-riot cops targeting motor spare dealers reportedly swarmed Kaguvi street in the central business district before ‘arbitrarily’ bundling scores of registered shop owners into their truck, claiming that they had violated the regulations of the Level 2 lockdown.
Quite worringly, some passersby who were rushing to their respective workplaces were also caught in the crossfire regardless of them putting on masks and abiding to the mandatory social distancing practices.
Kaguvi street is synonymous with informal traders who deal in motor spare parts from the pavements, but it is the indiscriminate manner through which compliant registered shop owners were arrested that has raised eyebrows.
According to a report in the online Zim Morning Post, the police was acting alone without the collaborative efforts or presence of municipal officers who are legally mandated to enforce the licencing of shops.
The anti-riot officers were also alleged of having freed most of the registered shop owners upon payment of a ‘protection fee’ of US$5 (equivalent to ZWL$250 on the parallel market).
At the time of publishing, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi could not be immediately reached for a comment on the Friday mass arrests.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews