State security forces, Friday sealed off major cities and towns in Zimbabwe in an attempt to thwart the planned anti-corruption protests.
While addressing the Zanu-PF politburo Wednesday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa had warned the organisers, describing the planned protests as “an insurrection to overthrow our democratically elected government” and warned that security “would be vigilant and on high alert.”
The major roads leading into city centres were sealed off while Central Business Districts were largely deserted as people were forced to stay at home.
In Bulawayo, various checkpoints were erected with armed police officers and soldiers thoroughly searching all vehicles heading into the city centre including ZUPCO buses or commuter omnibuses.
Police officers were also aboard some of the buses heading to town from various locations.
In town, security details in cars, on foot and on horseback patrolled the streets.
There were also reports of security details patrolling residential areas.
Most businesses were closed, save for a few supermarkets and food outlets that opened for only a handful of customers including police officers who were seen doing their shopping.
Despite the implosion of Zimbabwe’s economy coupled with lack of productivity, the security shutdown no doubt impacted businesses, as well as citizens.
Besides essential services such as health workers who were allowed to move, the only other productive sector were council workers who carried about with their cleaning of streets and clearing rubbish.
The previous day, security details had forcibly shut down businesses around midday despite businesses allowed to operate until 3pm.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police, in its twitter account Friday, said the security situation in the country was “calm and peaceful.”
“The public should continue with normal day to day activities with the full knowledge that their safety and security is guaranteed,” said the police.