The MDC’s planned “mother of all mass demonstrations” against President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s failed stewardship of the country and its dying economy, which was initially scheduled to take place in Harare on Thursday this week, has been postponed to April 14.
Party spokesperson Obert Gutu confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that although preparations for this week’s march had been at an advanced stage, they had to postpone it as authorities were concerned that it coincided with Mugabe’s scheduled meeting with war veterans in the capital.
“All the logistics are in place and the good thing is that the Constitution affords us the right to demonstrate. It will be a very peaceful mass action and we have dubbed it the mother of all demonstrations.
“As you know, as MDC we don’t force anyone to participate in our activities, but all indications are that tens of thousands of patriotic and peace-loving Zimbabweans will turn up for the demonstration,” Gutu said.
He added that the demonstration was a follow-up to the key resolutions of the party’s last national congress that was held at the City Sports Centre in 2014, at which the MDC resolved that after efforts to bring opposition forces to work together, this would be followed up by mass actions to pressurise Mugabe and the government to implement needed political reforms.
The main opposition would also be demonstrating against a number of other issues, including Zanu PF’s failure to fulfill its promise to create 2,2 million new jobs as espoused in the ruling party’s “pie-in-the-sky” 2013 election manifesto, as well as demand answers following Mugabe’s recent claim that $15 billion had been stolen from the Chiadzwa diamond mining fields.
In addition, the party would demand the equittable and non-partisan distribution of food, in the face of four million poor Zimbabweans facing starvation.
“We have sought police clearance for our demonstration and so far we have not encountered any problems. The police said they will get back to us by April 10.
“If they do not clear us, we will go to court to assert our rights. There is no retreat nor surrender,” Gutu said, adding that it was the constitutional right of all Zimbabweans to demonstrate.
Since Zanu PF controversially retained power in the hotly-disputed 2013 national elections, the country has been on a downward spiral, with the economy bleeding hundreds of thousands of badly-needed jobs and social service delivery hitting an all-time low.
In addition, there have also been 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 crisis precipitated an economic meltdown of monumental proportions — which culminated in the death of the Zimbabwe dollar and mass emigrations out of the country.
In most urban areas, thousands of street vendors, many of them with university degrees, roam around desperately trying to sell an assortment of products, including cell phone recharge cards, vegetables, second-hand clothes, traditional herbs and skin lightening creams.
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.