Dzamara to spread protests

HARARE - A group leading demonstrations to force President Robert Mugabe to resign over what it says are failed policies, has announced it will launch nationwide protests as Zimbabwe hurtles towards chaos.

Patson Dzamara, brother to abducted journalist-cum political activist, Itai, said the Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS) campaign was no longer a Harare-centred initiative but will now spread to other cities.

“We are actually magnifying our campaign through mobilising like-minded youths nationwide.

We shall certainly continue with our demonstrations,” Dzamara told the Daily News exclusively.

“We are no longer going to stay in the square, but would now only meet there for one hour between 5pm to 6pm. In undertaking our struggle, the #5to6 sessions will continue to be our flagship campaign and we will be rolling it out in the coming weeks across the country.”

Itai Dzamara founded the OAUS before he was abducted by an unknown group while having a haircut in the suburb of Glen View, Harare on March 8, last year.

Family members and pro-democracy groups have claimed Itai was abducted by State security agents, charges which have been strongly denied by government.

Police say they have not made headway in their search, but the family claims they know where he is and recently released a photograph which it said was Itai’s while in captivity.

“The #5to6 programme is an action by young people and other oppressed members of our society both politically and economically to reclaim our public space and the future by occupying public spaces, be it parks, streets or squares in their areas, and utilising those for constructive dialogue and action on political and socio-economic issues,” said the younger Dzamara.

“We have not changed the agenda of our mission, the demonstrations will continue until ...Mugabe and his government step down. The #5to6 programme will run on periodic themes at national level but will zero in on the specific issues affecting communities in general and young people in particular.

“Our demands remain very clear and among our demands are the immediate resignation of ...Mugabe and his entire Cabinet for failing to run the affairs of this country; repayment of the stolen US$15 billion diamond revenue and the arrest and incarceration of the perpetrators; the fulfilment of the 2,2 million jobs promised in 2013 by Mugabe and an immediate end to privatisation of social services and increased public expenditure on social services to ensure accessible quality education, health, water and welfare programmes for the vulnerable groups and an end to anti-worker policies and legislation.”

The spread of demonstrations by the activists comes as analysts warned Zimbabwe is hurtling towards social upheaval following riots which rocked the border town of Beitbridge on Friday.

Beitbridge riots temporarily forced the border post to shut down after protestors toyi-toyed for hours on the South African side of the border, apparently after being barred from marching on the Zimbabwean side.

Property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, including a rented Zimra warehouse, was also destroyed in the riots, with Zimbabwe police still to ascertain the exact extent of the damage.

Protesters were enraged by what they claimed was “insensitivity” on the part of the government which has made it almost impossible for people to import even basic foodstuffs.

Comments (4)

For how long shall we remai beggars in our country? Where is the President to give us a clear explanation

Captain D - 4 July 2016

You know I wish these protests simply occasion regime change the Arab Spring style!!!

Frank Zibusiso Nyathi - 4 July 2016

please keep those that are working in and for hospitals and care homes safe as they continue to work during the shut down. some jobs need to continue to save lives please be aware. i pray mugabe and the government as a whole resign allowing a leader lead by our Lord to lead the country. use mugabes "private"wealth that has been stolen from the cournty to re instate hosiptals schools roads water works electricity new housing that is not substandard. farms that are once again owned by the true workers of the land and may our country once again be the bread basket of africa and truely Gods own country.

laura clarke - 5 July 2016

Protests, protests, to whose benefit.

L. Makombe - 5 July 2016

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