The National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) has vowed to escalate protests against President Robert Mugabe until he steps down.
Navuz chairperson, Stern Zvorwadza, said Mugabe and his administration are “clueless” and “abused Zimbabwean citizens”.
“…we are going to continue with our peaceful demonstrations and we are going to have bigger protests. As citizens, we are under siege,” he told the press on Thursday.
“We are going to make sure that the government of Zimbabwe will listen to the people. At the moment, everyone is unhappy with the way the government is treating its citizens,” Zvorwadza said.
He said the “protests which happened in the past were not sufficient to draw the government’s attention”.
“People were protesting but… the government did not listen to them,” Zvorwadza said, adding that “what is happening now is surely going to yield dividends”.
In the past fortnight, there have been several protests against Mugabe’s misrule.
Residents in various Harare suburbs — Ruwa, Epworth and Mabvuku — demonstrated, with riot police intervening, which was followed by a civil servants stay-away over delayed salaries.
On Saturday last week, a women-only crowd also demonstrated against the 92-year-old leader, blaming him for the hunger and grinding poverty that has hit the country.
Also, there has been an on-going #ThisFlag campaign against Mugabe on social media, fronted by Evan Mawarire, a pastor.
Zvorwadza also warned of a revolt that could be triggered by the soon to be introduced bond notes.
“Another time bomb is the coming in of bond notes. The notes will be rejected. I really want to see a miracle on how the government could do to people for them to accept the bond notes,” he said.
Zvorwadza, who has been arrested countless times for demonstrating against Mugabe’s misrule, said he is not scared of Zanu PF.
In terms of safety, I am not safe but in terms of principle and conscience I do not survive for myself. I have a generation which is going to live after me, what am I going to tell them that I did during my time? Something that benefited them,” he said.
“I am not doing this for myself but I am doing this for the voiceless, people who are not able to confront this evil regime. I am going to continue in that fashion until freedom is achieved.”
“This regime thrives on intimidation but I am not going to retract or retreat, my safety needs to come first as you know it’s not good to be a dead hero. But there are no two ways; we need to stand up until freedom is achieved.”
Zvorwadza said they are planning to have a massive demonstration against the police next month.
“If we continue demonstrating against hunger and poverty without also focusing on the conduct of police officers we are doing nothing so on August 18, we will launch a massive demonstration against selective application of the law in front of the (Harare) central police station. The police must know that we are coming, if they want to put their defence they must do it on time.”
“This protest is open to everyone, Tajamuka, #ThisFlag, vendors and teachers. I mean all Zimbabweans will be available at that process.”
He also said the Zanu PF youths have declared a civil war by threatening to take the law into their own hands and “deal with protestors”.
“We need to bring change through dialogue and a peaceful manner but some of the officials will run away as things heat up. By threatening to unleash their youths to thwart people who are demonstrating they are declaring a civil war without guns.”
“The government is very careless and I think this is one of the biggest mistake made by Zanu PF government and this mistake is even bigger than running down the economy. This is the biggest mistake of their time.
“The ruling party have got a small group of people the people you saw it it’s an amalgamation of all Zanu PF provinces in the country.
He warned Zanu PF that they have already lost the battle against the people of Zimbabwe.
“As the chairperson of the Vendors Union if I want to call the same group like what Zanu PF did, I will call only four districts in Harare out of the 24 districts.”
“Zanu PF is a handful of individuals trying to fight masses, some people will fly from America, Nigeria and China to join us in fighting this regime, they are out there in Diaspora not because they want but because of the current economic situation”.
“Zanu PF have lost this battle before they start, if they want to try it let them try it