Harare tense as MDC 'toyi-toyis'

HARARE - All eyes will be on opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured)and the MDC as they mount what they say will be the “mother of all mass demonstrations” against President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s failed stewardship of the country and its dying economy in Harare today.

Observers told the Daily News yesterday that the march — the first serious mass action that Tsvangirai and the MDC are embarking on in a decade — will be watched keenly by both friends and foes in terms of the impact, or lack of, that it will make as the 2018 national elections beckon.

Armed with a High Court order that gave the nod to the demonstration, after obstructive police tried to thwart the march on the dubious claim that they did not have the resources to supervise it, the MDC says the mass action will be orderly and peaceful.

Speaking after High Court judge Justice Happious Zhou gave the MDC the green-light to proceed with the demo, party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said “evil would have triumphed over good if they had been stopped from demonstrating”.

“The judge ruled that there were no sufficient grounds to stop this demonstration. The judge also said the presence of police was not necessary for the exercise of the right to demonstrate. He even said the police must facilitate the demonstration.

“The ruling represents a milestone for the future. Indeed, we do not expect to be coming back to the courts when we plan other demonstrations. We hope the police have learnt their lessons.

“Whoever is the officer who is going to try and stop us tomorrow is going to personally bear the responsibility of what happens tomorrow, including paying the costs. Any disruption of the demonstration will be unlawful,” an elated Mwonzora said.

The court also ruled that police officer commanding Harare Central district, Newbert Saunyama, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo should pay all the legal costs that were incurred by the MDC in its court challenge.

MDC officials said they were expecting more than 10 000 people support the march and to pour into the streets of Harare to, among other things, demand the two million jobs that Zanu PF promised in its 2013 election manifesto, as well as answers on the $15 billion worth of diamonds that Mugabe says cannot be accounted for.

Mwonzora said last night that the MDC — along with other opposition parties, civic groups and churches — would proceed to the so-called Freedom Square (next to the Harare International Conference Centre, and opposite the Harare showgrounds) — where the party held a bumper rally ahead of the hotly-disputed 2013 elections.

“Our enemy may try to infiltrate us to cause chaos, but we have marshals who are going to deal with that to make sure the public is safe. There will not be looting and there will not be violence,” he asserted.

Since Zanu PF controversially won the 2013 elections, the economy has been on a precipitous downward slide, with thousands of companies closing shop and hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs in the process.

Today’s demo is a replay of the 2007 mass prayer that was violently disrupted by the police — with the indefatigable Tsvangirai a living victim of the law enforcement agents’ heavy-handedness again taking the main role to lead the mass action.

Drawing parallels between now and 2007, both political and economic experts say the country has once again hit the depths of humanitarian and economic despair that were last experienced before the establishment of the government of national unity in 2009.

Then, the country’s seemingly unending political crises precipitated an economic meltdown of monumental proportions — which culminated in the death of the Zimbabwe dollar, as well as mass emigrations.

Indeed, and despite the best efforts of Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya and his team to mitigate the situation, the debilitating cash shortages that hit local banks a few weeks ago are worsening, sending the country’s long-suffering citizens and the few remaining companies into panic mode.

Analysts say the cash crunch manifests “the sad reality” that Zimbabwe’s economy is continuing on its catastrophic downward spiral — a consequence of the country’s decades-old political crises that are widely blamed on Mugabe and Zanu PF.

The country started experiencing serious cash shortages at the beginning of this year, resulting in the central bank imposing limits on withdrawals — a move that is said to have seen many companies and individuals opting not to deposit their money with financial institutions, thereby worsening the crisis.

The Daily News has also previously reported that there were growing concerns that Zimbabwe has once again hit the depths of humanitarian and economic despair that were last experienced in 2008, when the country’s seemingly unending political crises knocked Zimbabwe’s economy cold.

Many political and economic observers have also warned that 2016 will in all likelihood be harder all-round than 2015, which was itself generally described as an annus horribilis (horrible year).

They said there was “little hope” that life would get better for most Zimbabweans, and that if anything, the country’s ailing economy would get sicker, while the deadly factional and succession wars ravaging the post-congress Zanu PF were set to worsen.

Economic and political experts have also said that the recent human trafficking scam associated with some Kuwait nationals also showed that Zimbabweans had now become so desperate that they were willing to do anything, no matter how dangerous, to survive.

Only a month ago, the Harare Magistrates’ Courts charged a Kuwait embassy official with human trafficking — after about 200 local women had allegedly been lured to the Gulf region country where they were turned into slaves.

And instead of attending to the country’s worsening political and socio-economic crises, Zanu PF bigwigs are embroiled in their party’s mindless bloodletting, in which a faction loyal to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is engaged in deadly factional and succession wars with a group opposed to him succeeding Mugabe.

At the same time, poverty levels in Zimbabwe are said to have reached alarming proportions, with a recent authoritative survey revealing that in some areas of the country as many as 96 percent of villagers live on less than a dollar a day.

Comments (21)

kkkkkkkk yaa daily news you are behind the march came and went young pple who are the future of this country came in large numbers flooding the streets of the dirtiest city Harare .Now anyone day dreaming that mdc is dead must swallow his pride .heey yaa chesaaaaampaaaa come 2018 we give power to the civilian leader .ngenkani lange vote the good thing no people were bused from rural areas nor were shops closed and every one forced to join the march The partisan police were left with eggs on their faces kkkkkk toko ..

Diibulaanyika - 14 April 2016

The MDC should organize such marches in every city and town in Zimbabwe. Sue the Ministers and Police Chiefs if they deny anyone the right to march peacefully. If the marches are granted then , MDC must have its own camera people within the marchers and film everything so that the Green Bombers are identified. Use the New Constitution all of you Zimbabweans and where we are abused lets take the matters and the culprits to Court. This i urge especially the well known Politicians to use as they are popular and anything happening to them is public knowledge immediately. Take the marches to all corners . And if Savior wants to usse limited Cash to build and bribe our youths with houses which they do not need for now , take to Parly and to the Courts .

vusumuzi - 14 April 2016

Yes MDC well done but pliz we want those demos all over the country including Here in vic falls .

Siginya mbila - 15 April 2016

Now i believe that most of those whom make useless noise here are spook security agents where are they now . MDC demo was resounding victory for democracy hence you guys have gone into hiding judging by negative things you say about mdc ..

Chimedza matombo - 15 April 2016

They are still cooking lies when they come here you will hear fun things and blue lies about mdc kkkkkkkk .Like what others have mentioned mdc can now do demo at a go in all towns and cities we like it and waiting for it . Mubaransi.jojo waindepi kkkkkkk

Siamababa - 15 April 2016

KKKKK yaa Morgan has the mojo and come next elections he wins bcoz zanu is now tired and exhausted of rigging and they will give in as they no longer have finance to hire international crooks to rig elections

Diibulaanyika - 15 April 2016

This man called Tsvangirai deserves to respected,,he is out man. Nometter what he fights for us. But some of the people are blind to see to this.Well done Tsvangson iam behind u

matsotsi - 15 April 2016

Viola weee uripiko.uripiko uripiko

luke - 15 April 2016

Yaawwwwnn........

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chastuchus - 15 April 2016

Congradulations on yo historic walk.Its good for our democracy to pik up.Good to see yo leader ,leading upfront wth his pple.congrats.im sure yu achieved what yu wanted,no police intereference.I also thank the unpartisan police force,they protected yu in yo walkabout,bcoz there were a number of yu walking behind yo leader.

viola gwena - 15 April 2016

Marches or protest will not turn into votes the ballot box votes will bring back Zanu pf to power watch 2018

Colonel - 15 April 2016

thumbs up MDC. it is through courage,determination and sacrifice that change can come about. More power! more energy, more and more demos. I salute the gudge. thats bravery man, many have failed us. thumbs up Tswangirai

Kadolyo - 15 April 2016

Does anyone still remember a member of the public being killed by one of Mujuru's dogs in the 1980s and how the incident was kept under the carpet. HOW INSINSITIVE. 20 000 People were killed in Matabeleland under her watch and her husband was the Army General. People,s houses were destroyed in 2005 when she was the VP. She did not say anything. Again in 2008, about 200 MDC supporters were killed and she did not denounce such naked brutality. The 2008 elections were rigged under her watch. Rigging elections is the biggest corruption cases of all even worse than treason as by doing so you are sabotaging the collective choice of the majority of the people. She and her hangers-on should submissively join MDC-T

dovi - 15 April 2016

taivetatogadzira mapetrol bombs ,dai vakada kuita funny ,pasi ne cio ,military, joc, intelligenge,vese.Hapana zvamunotiita.

rosemary margolis shereni - 15 April 2016

taivetatogadzira mapetrol bombs ,dai vakada kuita funny ,pasi ne cio ,military, joc, intelligenge,vese.Hapana zvamunotiita.

rosemary margolis shereni - 15 April 2016

akagara Mugabe haana zvaanoita.pasina naye.pasi ne zanupf , joc, TSVANGIRAYI NDIZVO.

TAFADZWA TASHINGA SHERENI - 15 April 2016

Dont forget we are the masters of grouping masses.us warvts alone a potion of us 10 000.in yo celebrations dnt yu forget that.and it was in yo so called on turf.come to us rurals ,masvingo,mash east.yu wil then know yu r kids play.yes come to us.we held it in twn,no suporters bt the machinery only,us.bt again congrats,we are all zimbos ,as ngwena keeps saying.

viola gwena - 15 April 2016

Pamberi na tete,ichoooo.yes tete 10 000,ya .I like yu viola,.vaudze.mzaya

komuredhi - 15 April 2016

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