Anxious nation holds its breath

HARARE - Zimbabweans are on tenterhooks as the country’s rot deepens and civil unrest snowballs — with pressure groups and opposition parties planning another debilitating nationwide stay-away today, and a massive demonstration against President Robert Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s misrule on Friday.

To add to the restless populace’s worries, Mugabe is also facing an unprecedented rebellion within his party, as his plotting lieutenants savage each other to the death to determine who will succeed the increasingly frail nonagenarian.

Although one of the presumed leaders of Tajamuka/Sesijikile, which is playing a prominent role in today’s planned shutdown — Promise Mkwananzi — is languishing in prison after he was denied bail by the courts on Monday after being nabbed by police on a cocktail of opaque charges, the pressure group remains adamant that Mugabe will fall by December this year under the weight of growing public pressure.

“People will stay at home but there will be action in the suburbs, with citizens expressing their frustrations. Kombi drivers will not be on the roads because they have had enough of the numerous roadblocks that the police mount everyday.

“We had hoped that Mugabe was going to be reasonable and take heed of the ultimatum we gave him to step aside before the 31st of this month, but after realising that he is illogical we have decided to take action and it is our belief that he will not last in office until December,” Tajamuka interim spokesperson Hardlife Mudzingwa told the Daily News.

He said the pressure group had “enough strength in numbers” to make a significant impact in the country, further calling upon what he called “the stockholders of the campaign” — who include war veterans, vendors, civil servants, kombi drivers and touts, students and cross-border traders — to ensure that today’s shutdown was a resounding success.

Mugabe and Zanu PF, in power since Zimbabwe’s independence in April 1980, stand accused of destroying the country’s once vibrant economy and authoring the current hardships besetting ordinary citizens.

Tajamuka, working with others such as exiled activist clergyman Evan Mawarire, organised arguably one of the most successful strikes to have hit the country last month when tens of thousands of workers heeded their call to stay away from work in protest against Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown.

Today’s shutdown is being held at a time that war veterans, for long one of Mugabe’s strongest pillars, have joined opposition political parties and pro-democracy groups in pushing for change in the country.

The disaffected former freedom fighters served divorce papers on Mugabe last month after growing disillusioned with Zimbabwe’s worsening rot, and also recently announced that they would no longer support Zanu PF only going forward, but would allow their members to embrace political parties of their choice.

And in yet another stunning development, the former freedom fighters embraced Tajamuka three weeks ago, and then went on to openly meet with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai last week.

On its part, the MDC has urged people to heed the call for another mammoth stayaway today, as they agitate for a better future.

“We are fully in support of the shutdown. The MDC is in support of all lawful and peaceful means of demonstrating against the corrupt, bankrupt and crumbling Zanu PF regime.

“We speak the same narrative with the oppressed and suppressed people of Zimbabwe. As such, we are in total and full support of the shutdown that is planned for today.

“The shutdown is very significant, coming as it does just a few days after the police and some Zanu PF thugs and hooligans ran amok in downtown Harare last Friday. Mugabe is no longer the solution. He is the problem.

“Zimbabwe is in the process of crossing the Rubicon. Zanu PF is twisted, broken, bankrupt and crumbling. This is why the regime has resorted to brutal and thuggish methods of suppressing civilian discontent,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

Last Friday, police bludgeoned hundreds of protestors who had gathered in Harare under the auspices of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), a grouping of 18 opposition political parties that had planned to demonstrate against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) secretariat on outstanding electoral reforms.

Even after the High Court had ruled that the protest march could go ahead, riot police — backed by armoured trucks and water cannons — indiscriminately fired volleys of teargas at all and sundry, battering and chasing groups of determined opposition supporters.

Yesterday former State Security minister Didymus Mutasa, who is the Nera convener, also said they were in full support of the shutdown, adding that people would not relent until they “gained their full freedom back”.

“We support what they are doing. We are also not scared of being beaten. People have been beaten before. Tsvangirai himself has been beaten but he has not stopped leading the opposition.

“Mugabe himself was once beaten by the police and we were also beaten during the war. Did that stop us? There is no difference between kurohwa nemapurisa aMugabe or aSmith (there is no difference between being beaten by Rhodesian or Zimbabwean police).

“We want the freedom that Mugabe fought for and we will not stop until we get those freedoms,” Mutasa — who for long was a close Mugabe’s confidante — told the Daily News.

Meanwhile, the unfolding political crisis in Zimbabwe has since caught the attention of the international community, including the United Nations which has said it is closely monitoring the situation.

Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon, said the world body was especially concerned by worsening police brutality in the country.

Last week, the internationally-respected Group of Elders, who include a former American president and ex-head of the UN, issued an unusually frank call to Sadc to intervene in the worsening Zimbabwean political crisis.

In July, riots also broke out in the border town of Beitbridge when angry traders protested against the government’s ill-advised decision to ban the importation of basic consumer goods.

More than 70 people were arrested in the aftermath of those riots which destroyed property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, including the burning of a warehouse belonging to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).

The riots later spread to Harare where police once again used force to break a demonstration called by commuter omnibus drivers and touts to protest too many police roadblocks on the roads which they said had become extortionate.

Comments (14)

@dailynews:no one is holding their breadth,the stayaway call was ignored as people endorsed the govt by ignoring tajamuka,maybe promise is holding his breath in remand prison,the people of this country will not be held to ransom by a few rogue elements,the likes of tsvangison,mawarire and zvoradzwa etc,we stand solidly behind his excellency and put our trust in him to turn around the economy

truth - 31 August 2016

@truth, you are a mad zanu sympathiser. The truth is your old man is on his way out whether by protests or death whatever comes first. On the day he shall report to his maker in heaven, you shall witness Zimbos including yoself celebrating in the streets.

Larry Hoover - 31 August 2016

@truth, you are a mad zanu sympathiser. The truth is your old man is on his way out whether by protests or death whatever comes first. On the day he shall report to his maker in heaven, you shall witness Zimbos including yoself celebrating in the streets.

Larry Hoover - 31 August 2016

The truth is that the opposition and the so called social media cowards have run out of steam. They are after money and sponsorship from NGOs and western imperialists. By staying away, these groups make money through using ordinary and long suffering Zimbabweans. Zimbos are now smart and are not following these hoodlums. Icho!!

Murozvimukuru - 31 August 2016

@truth or falsehoods and the so called matuzvimakuru, Zimbabweans did not ignore the stayaway but are bussy looking for money to pay rent and school fees. Zimbaweans will always welcome peaceful means to emancipate themselves from the suffering they are in. Zimbabweans welcome anyone championing the recovery of the lost $15 billion, someone calling for the revival of the local industry to create employment, someone calling for the eradication of corruption that is currently being ignored by the Zanu Pf government, someone calling for the eradication of poverty through empowering youths and women, someone calling for peace into the society, someone calling for the revival of the education sector, someone calling for the revival of agriculture, someone calling for transparency, someone calling for respect of human rights, not the kicking and battering of hungry and elderly women by the police . So there is nothing to celebrate, its suffering for the masses while a few are enjoying.

ISHE NEHOREKA - 31 August 2016

The struggle continues, that humanity for you, since time immemorial.

mamvura - 31 August 2016

To truth and other stereotypes, let us kindly do ourselves a favour and get our country back to normality once again. The old man and his administration have failed us we all know that. I suggest, let us collectively find an amicable solution to end this. At this point in time the only amicable thing to do is what is happening. People continue staying away and march peacefully in streets. Let Zanu Pf youths destroy properties as they always do and later on accuse Promise Mkhwananzi and other peace loving demonstrators. They have destroyed the country what is the value of one police van burnt in comparison to our believed country ? Again Zimbabweans kindly stop creating new political parties this behaviour to me is affecting the purpose of this meaningful demonstration. It means to me everyone wants to be President of Zimbabwe. That is impossible. There will be always one President in Zimbabwe. Kindly destroy those Political parties form one unified democratic party which will have a meaningful challenge to the failed Zanu Pf.

Gagisa Mpandeyamadoda - 31 August 2016

Patriotic Zimbabweans must support Comrade President Mugabe during these difficult days. The truth iks that the British and other Western imperialists are behind the current civil unrest by destroying the Zimbabwean economy as they want regime change so they can plunder the wealth of the country. I am a white Zimbabwean who fully supports the revolutionary ZANU Of.

Julien Moore - 31 August 2016

kikiki @julien moore then u should a whiteman born in zvimba!

mai tajamuka - 31 August 2016

Mugabe cannot find a plan to resuscitate the country`s economy which he destroyed. He wishes he could for him and his cronies to hold on to power but its irretrievably dead. He is realising this too late: that without the economy their chances of hanging on to power diminishes everyday. Their last desperate effort is to wage a war against the dissenting citizens in an effort to plug faults on a dam wall which is about to burst. Fighting your kind opens the gates to foreigners to come and run affairs in your country. This is what is about to happen in Zimbabwe. The blame lies squarely on Mugabe because he has mistaken our patience for stupidity and thought he can do as he pleases till he dies.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 31 August 2016

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rutsito - 1 September 2016

Zimbos stop being cry babies and come up with solutions. Its easy to point fingers at others but what are you doing to improve your lives. Bob is only human and is playing his part whilst you waste your energies on vilifying him. Remove the logs in your eyes first so that you can see clearly. You have been empowered to start your own businesses but all you do is cry and blame. Stop being cry babies please and be productive. Icho!!

Murozvimukuru - 1 September 2016

Daily news may you expose the CABS BANKING INSTITUTION HOW IT ISS FLEECING ITS CLIENTS OF THEIR HARD EARNED CASH. THE BANK HAS STOPPED RTGS, INTERNET BANKING , TT AND YOU CAN HARDLY GET ANY CASH. THIS IS DAY LIGHT ROBBERY. MOST OF THE BANK'S POLICIES ARE NOW OPPRESSING THE CLIENTS , UNDER THE FALSE DISGUISES OF THE RBZ monetary policy of 2016.

cabs client - 1 September 2016

mugabe is a stumbling block to any potential recovery of this country. He is holding that key that open the door for the better and equal oportunities and restore peace in this country. mugabe is a selfish person, that is why people are on his case. The solution starts at the top where the driver have proven to be incompetent. It does not matter who replaces him as long the policies for the better of this country are priority. mugabe has failed this country big time.

X-MAN IV - 1 September 2016

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