Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Business as usual at Beitbridge Border Post

It was business as usual at Beitbridge Border Post yesterday after Western-sponsored pressure groups who intended to block the South African side of the border to force the Government of Zimbabwe to abandon its newly-introduced import law, chickened out at the eleventh hour.


The opposition groups among them, Tajamuka, African Diaspora Workers' Network, Zimbabwe Communist Group, Zimbabwe Exiles Forum and International Cross-border Association had planned to hold a meeting at the Musina China Mall, followed by a march to block the border.

Indications are that a few weeks ago, they had approached that country's police without success to get a clearance, but failed and decided to forge ahead with their programme. They later chickened out at around 7am yesterday and all shops at the mall opened for business.

The group wanted to hold their illegal programme a few metres from where members from the neighbouring country's army, police and immigration were mounting a checkpoint to weed out illegal immigrants.
Business as usual at Beitbridge Border Post
Musina police spokesperson, Constable Dakalo Ramagweda said they had not received any reports of untoward incidents within the town and the border area. "There was no gathering at all. The situation is calm and people went about their businesses without disturbances throughout the day.

"Our officers are always alert and will continue maintaining peace within our area of jurisdiction," she said. A spokesperson for a group calling itself Tajamuka, Mr Tino Mambeu said they were terrified with the presence of the police and the army near the venue.

"We have retreated and we are back on the drawing board, mapping the way forward. We wanted to carry out sit-in protests, which would culminate in the shutting down of all commercial activities and the border post.

"That is, however, not possible because we failed to get clearance from the police for a march and other outdoor activities. There is a high police visibility in all the areas we wanted to carry out our activities," he said.

The chairperson of the Africa Diaspora Workers' Network identified only as Miss J Munakamwe said they were holding more meetings to map the way forward. "We have retreated and will not disclose our plans at the moment to avoid 'technical challenges'," she said.

Zimbabwe's police spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said the situation at all the country's ports of entry was peaceful. "We are happy that we did not receive reports of any disturbances or violence across the country. Most people commemorated the Heroes' Day holiday in peace and we want to thank them for that.

"We have adequately deployed and are always as alert and ready to deal with any situations that are aimed at disturbing peace in the country," said Chief Supt Nyathi. The border town of Beitbridge was at the beginning of July, rocked by violent protests which saw infrastructure vandalised and the South African side of the border shut down by pressure groups and businessmen in the neighbouring town of Musina.

This worsened when Zimbabwe introduced Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 to restrict importation of goods that local manufacturers can produce. Some of the goods include; cheese, fertiliser, shoe polish, cooking oil, peanut butter, baked beans, coffee creamers, second hand tyres and body creams. #ThisFlag. The Herald
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