'Mega demo going ahead'

HARARE - The opposition vowed yesterday that their planned massive demonstration in Harare today, to be led by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru, would go ahead despite threats by authorities to stop it.

Their assertion came after violent demonstrations rocked the capital on Wednesday, as angry protesters fed up with the country’s deepening rot burnt vehicles and looted shops.

Addressing a press conference in Harare, which was attended by Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) elder and Nera convener Didymus Mutasa, called on Zimbabweans to join today’s march to demand electoral reforms ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

He also pointed out that the march was an indication that a grand coalition of opposition parties to challenge President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s 36 years in power was on the horizon.

“We have called this press conference to announce that tomorrow’s march to press for comprehensive electoral reforms is going ahead as planned.

“As political parties, we call upon the people of Zimbabwe to come out in their numbers so that we make a loud national expression to demand comprehensive electoral reforms that will ensure that we move away from the culture of contested electoral outcomes,” Mutasa said.

“Tomorrow’s (today’s) march is not only to press for comprehensive electoral reforms ahead of the watershed 2018 elections, but also to petition Zec and demand that it announces a clear road map to the elections.

“We are also calling on Sadc in particular to remain seized with Zimbabwean issues as the current economic crisis is just but a mirror of the underlying political crisis. We call upon Zimbabweans to come in their thousands to join in this legitimate cause,” he added.

Mutasa also revealed that other political parties which were not Nera signatories, including the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Mavambo/Kusile Dawn would also take part in the mega demonstration.

MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, who is also the Nera legal officer, said while police had been notified of the intention to march as far back as two weeks ago, the authorities had not bothered to respond until yesterday.

“They only responded today (yesterday), discouraging us from going ahead with the march in the central business district, saying they could not manage the numbers.

“But we said no thank you because they are not qualified to give us that legal advice.

“We have approached the courts and we have no reason not to be expectant because there is precedence already,” Mwonzora said.

“We recently had a one-million man march that they allowed to go ahead and now the police cannot say they cannot manage a mere 150 000 expected peaceful demonstrators,” he added.

“We appreciate that it’s going to be a challenge to get a police clearance, so we are approaching the courts first and from there we will take it with the police because we are determined to make a statement tomorrow (today).

“The march will start from Rainbow Towers (now called Freedom Square by the opposition), with people demonstrating along Robert Mugabe to Fourth Street.

“From there we will go north along Fourth Street to Jason Moyo and to the Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) offices,” Mutasa chipped in.

But Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo on State broadcaster, ZBC on Wednesday, blamed Tsvangirai for the chaos that engulfed Harare.

However, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu was among those who said no amount of intimidation would stop them from ploughing ahead with their demonstration for electoral reforms today.

“When Chombo and his elites were involved in the unrestrained and unmitigated looting of State coffers and other public resources, they should have known better that the down-trodden and oppressed citizens of Zimbabwe would one day rightfully demand their share of the national cake.

“We call upon Chombo and his coterie of corrupt and failed Zanu PF regime apologists to listen to the people and immediately address pressing national issues such as the deepening socio-economic crisis where millions of young Zimbabweans are facing a bleak future of joblessness and hopelessness,” he said.

Analysts also told the Daily News that despite feigning bravado in the face of the rising tide of public anger, ruling party officials were now running scared, since “they are unaccustomed to riots”.

“The regime may appear unmoved, but certainly the economy will be moved negatively and potential investors will be moved away from Zimbabwe.

“Things are falling apart, and in the near end the regime will acknowledge that it has dug itself into a hole that it cannot come out of without embracing reforms, human rights and restoration of rule of law,’” said human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga.

Another political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, said the threat that was posed by Tsvangirai and Mujuru could not be ignored by Mugabe and Zanu PF.

“The regime is moved and panicking. When they forced (#This Flag campaign founder) Evan (Mawarire) out of the country they thought their machinery of fear had worked.

“But having fearless protesters overpowering police brutality is something that sends a chill in any dictator’s bossom,” Saungweme said.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is once again hogging the global limelight, with a group of international elders — including Graca Machel, Kofi Annan and Desmond Tutu — calling for the establishment of a transitional authority in the country.

In a letter to Sadc, that is meeting in Swaziland next week, the elders said that the “upcoming summit is an important opportunity to reflect on how best Sadc can help Zimbabwe manage the complex challenges ahead”.

Comments (9)

I don't think Sadc will b of help to Zim coz of its silent diplomacy n possibly fear of the nonagenarian Zim dictator. It's up to us Zimbabweans to free ourselves from ZANU pf colonialisation.

Dhewa - 26 August 2016

thanks for the prayers of many oppressed Zimbabweans, jesus the almight has finally listened to the cries of the oppressed and thank mai mujuru for showing remorse . alluta continua, Mugabe must swallow his pride and go peacefully he has failed both man and god shame to the first lady mai grace for being part of this mess, she will never rule zimbabwe

bonface danda - 26 August 2016

Zyw

taurai.chadenga - 27 August 2016

Psc

taurai chadenga - 27 August 2016

Hww

taurai chadenga - 27 August 2016

Pcm

taurai.chadenga - 27 August 2016

Koh

taurai.chadenga - 27 August 2016

Wxs

taurai chadenga - 27 August 2016

Time to force Mugabe and his murderous group was yesterday. Let us continue the pressure. They will go. Everywhere in the world, dictators have failed to oppress the masses for ever. Remember Marcos, Ceaucescu, Bokasa, Amin, Banda, Seseko, the list is long. They cannot win against the masses, let us send them away but we should be wary of the likes of Mutasa and Mujuru. These may be coming to infiltrate the opposition with intent to scupper our objective but if they are genuinely with us let us not give them positions of influence. I hope Mr. Tsvangirai knows what he is doing.

Yeoman Thomas - 27 August 2016

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