Anger against Mugabe grows

HARARE - Abducted journalist-turned-human rights activist Itai Dzamara’s continued disappearance is acting as a catalyst for unity among President Robert Mugabe’s political opponents, as they say his government has destroyed all the gains of the country’s liberation struggle against white minority rule.

The rising demands for the government to either release or find Dzamara — who went missing after staging sit-ins agitating for the resignation of Mugabe — are broadening into a concerted national fury that is being made worse by the country’s worsening economic crisis and Zanu PF’s misrule.

So negative have sentiments towards Mugabe and Zanu PF become in the country, that Saturday’s prayer meeting in Harare in remembrance of Dzamara very quickly descended into a spontaneous anti-government demonstration enjoying the full spectrum of Zimbabwean society — including church leaders, NGOs and opposition politicians.

Almost without exception, speaker after speaker savaged Mugabe and Zanu PF, calling on the nonagenarian and the government to account for the missing activist or step down.

Earlier last week, Mugabe — the only leader Zimbabweans have known for the past for 35 years — reshuffled his “deadwood” Cabinet in what analysts said was a desperate endeavour to appease warring factions in his party, as well as the restless citizenry’s growing anger.

But the Cabinet musical chairs failed to gain any support, with most critics saying the nonagenarian continued to wittingly or unwittingly misunderstand what Zimbabweans really wanted — democracy, progress and development in the country.

“You can reshuffle the Cabinet as much as you want, Mugabe,” said a carpenter John Moyo, “but we will not stop until you leave”.

Moyo pointed to the country’s high unemployment, rising living costs, endemic corruption and worsening poverty levels — all now underlined by the informalisation of the economy — as the reasons why Mugabe needed to go.

And like most disaffected Zimbabweans feel, Moyo also accused Mugabe’s cronies of gross corruption and “accruing extravagant wealth at the expense of the Zimbabwean people”.

“When mudhara uyu (Mugabe) is gone, Zimbabwe will regain its pride,” he said resignedly.

In the meantime, the location selected for Saturday’s prayer meeting could not have been more appropriate and politically resonant.

The Zimbabwe Grounds are the epicentre of people power and are famous for having hosted Mugabe’s “Star Rally” in 1979 where he made his famous prediction of a landslide victory at the impeding independence elections, which the ruling party won.

The Zimbabwe Grounds were also the scene of State-orchestrated violence and widespread chaos on March 11, 2007, after the opposition, church members, civil society and the general public gathered for a prayer meeting to protest against the death of democracy in Zimbabwe.

The government then responded with a much-criticised iron fist, resulting in the fatal shooting of an MDC activist Gift Tandare, as police resorted to using live ammunition against the masses.

Thankfully, riot police were conspicuously absent from Saturday’s prayer meeting — a welcome first for Zimbabwe, after the government banned the same prayer meeting last month.

Still, Saturday’s prayer rally showed that peace in Zimbabwe was nascent and fragile, with many detailing the hardship and oppression they faced in their daily lives.

A big MDC banner at the rally said, “Muchatipa Dzamara chete (You will be forced to produce Dzamara)”.

The party’s spokesman Obert Gutu yesterday said Saturday’s gathering was a harbinger of bigger things to come.

“Zimbabweans, across the political divide, are discovering that there is more that unites them than that which divides them. The MDC is confident that with this growing momentum on national convergence, the people of Zimbabwe are on the verge of liberating themselves from the yoke of Zanu PF tyranny and subjugation.

“Come what may, 2018 (that year’s general elections) will be a defining moment in the political history of Zimbabwe. We are on the verge of true political liberation and socio-economic emancipation,” Gutu said.

The spokesman of the MDC Renewal Team, Jacob Mafume, said it was clear that there was growing anger against the government.

“The government is in the stage of what we call new failure. They are setting records for failure every day. The anger against Mugabe can be touched or even sliced by a big knife. To say life is hard does not even begin to describe it, life is impossible.

“There is urgent need for a coalition of opposition forces, and more importantly a winning strategy to rescue the Zimbabweans from this seemingly unending maze of suffering, because every turn we take now we seem to suffer.

“It’s a huge snakes and ladders of misery,” Mafume said.

However, Southern Africa project director at the International Crisis Group, Piers Pigou, said the opposition would only capitalise on growing negative sentiment if it could overcome its own internal differences.

“There seems little evidence of this, but the national convergence meeting in August will be a key indicator of prospects in this regard,” Pigou said.

    Comments (10)

    2018 is just to far to accredit this anti -Mugabe feeling now.Something must be done now because by 2018 the same regime would have sharpened it's rigging mechanisms.

    juks - 13 July 2015

    @juks...that is very true it's very important to do whatever needs to be done now rather than to talk about 2018, but this is a good start.

    misty - 13 July 2015

    WE NEED A NEW GOVERNMENT NOW ZANU FAILED LEFT,RIGHT AND CENTRE 35 YEARS IS ENOUGH THEY HAVE PROVED WHAT THEY KNOW BEST RIGGING,CORRUPTION AND BEATING UP PEOPLE ENOUGH IS ENOUGH GO .JUST A FEW YEARS AGO WE USED TO HAVE A BUS COMPANY OPPERATING SMOOTHLY WHERE IS IT NOW ?LOOTED AND DESTROYED BY MATONGA THE SAME PERSON GOES ON TO INVADE A PRODUCTIVE FARM WITH FLOURISHING CITRUS FIELDS WHAT DO WE HAVE THERE NOW ?DEADWOOD WHAT A PITTY

    kule - 13 July 2015

    Its high time these opposition parties unite and stop these factionalism and fight for the aspirations of the Zimbabwean populace of a free and democratic Zimbabwe where career is open to talent, where opportunities are guaranteed to every Zimbabwean and the guarantee of our fundamental rights of expression and association and we are more than prepared to enjoy them responsibly. Beaven wekwa Dhliwayo

    Beaven Dhliwayo - 14 July 2015

    The MDC-T is getting it all wrong. Why wait till 2018, these people need to be tackled like YESTERDAY. At this rate of poverty and economic dismay how will we make it to 2018....Opposition we need you to fight now not later..

    esau - 14 July 2015

    My heart bleeds when I hear these MDC fat cats talking about an alredy rigged election that will be staged in two years time.Tamborarama nei pese apa? DECEMBER 2015 chaye arikure. Mafume & Gutu,muchirukuguta haikonaa ? 2018 wamunoreva tichimboiteko pakati pese apa? The time is Now ! Action must be taken this year.If you guys are too scared to take the risk & lead the battle ,I think the best solution is to get rid of your group of cowards first then deal netuchembere later.

    Bob step Down - 14 July 2015

    zanu pf is a money making company must leave.

    hater - 16 July 2015

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