Zimbabwe National Army soldiers on Friday used violence to control desperate citizens who were trying to make withdrawals at the National Building Society bank at the corner of Samora Machel and Julius Nyerere way.
Zimbabweans have been struggling to access cash from banks for the past year, but the situation was meant to improve after the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe on Tuesday injected new notes and coins into the banking system.
The soldiers’ actions came after there was a stampede at the bank as people shoved to be served first and the bank security was overwhelmed.
Citizens who witnessed the incident were outraged by the soldiers’ conduct.
“I am heartbroken. How could they clap someone who came here early to try and get cash? Tomorrow, EcoCash services will be down, we need money, this is very unfortunate,” a citizen said.
Another man, who was clapped and spoke on condition of anonymity said: “I am speechless. How could these soldiers do this? Are they not living in this same Zimbabwe? Where are they getting money? I was trying to maintain my position, I came here in the morning and I cannot go back home without money.”
Depositors shoved each other in the long queues, forcing women with babies to move out of the queues as a way to protect their children.
A woman who was carrying a baby on her back Martha Mutanda said, “I had moved out of the queue, I am afraid that my baby might get hurt.”
Another old citizen, who identified himself as Sekuru Mabhachi said: “I am saddened, I came here early hoping to withdraw my money freely, but I moved out of the queue because I could not sustain the long standing anymore.”
Despite the introduction of new notes, cash crisis continues and long queues worsen.
The military spokesman Alphios Makotore was not immediately available for comment.
Soldiers use violence to control cash queues