MDC-T youth assembly yesterday said it will, with or without police clearance, go ahead with its planned demonstration today to pressurise the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) into implementing their desired electoral reforms for the 2018 elections.
Morgan Tsvangirai’s party is today expected to take to the streets to demand the levelling of the electoral playfield, accusing Zec of being manipulated by the ruling Zanu-PF, although the latter on Monday said no amount of street protests would force it to buckle to the MDC-T demands.
MDC-T youth boss, Happymore Chidziva yesterday said they had notified police of their intended demonstration, but would be in the streets with or without the law enforcement agents’ approval.
“The demonstration is on. This is a demonstration to press on issues on electoral reform. We will be showing our anger on how Zec is delaying the implementation,” he said.
“This is a march to force Zec to adhere to constitutionalism, to force the commission to operate independently, to make sure that voter registration centres are distributed fairly and on neutral grounds. We are also making it a point that we demonstrate against structural and physical violence associated with elections as well as calling on Zec to accept the diaspora vote.”
Police in the past have had running battles with protesters who would be retaliating against the law enforcement agents’ use of force to disperse them.
Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba yesterday said she was in a meeting and further efforts to get a comment from her were fruitless.
But in the MDC-T’s letter to the police dated July 3, Harare provincial youth secretary, Denford Ngadziore said they would take the same opportunity to celebrate the Day of the African Child.
We do, hereby, notify you of our intention to hold a Day of the African Child belated march. This programme will start at State Lottery Hall (Town House) via Julius Nyerere Way and then Nelson Mandela Avenue to Africa Unity Square near Parliament building. Forty marshals will help to control the marches that will not exceed 200 people,” read the letter.
But Chidziva said: “We cannot remain victims of rigged elections forever. We need to correct this and we are going into those elections with our desired reforms. According to the provisions of the law, we notified police and they are not the ones to tell us when and how to take action.
“Their duty is to come and see what we will be doing. No one is going to stop us.”
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu justified the protest saying the young people had suffered for too long and they needed to stand up for their rights.
“The youth of Zimbabwe have been downtrodden and suppressed for too long. They need to stand up and vigorously fight for their rights,” he said.
“Accordingly, we call upon the youth to come out in their numbers and participate in tomorrow’s demonstration. The future of Zimbabwe belongs to the youth.
Youths should actively participate in calling for the creation of jobs as well as entrepreneurial opportunities.”
On Monday, Zec chairperson, Rita Makarau said they would continue dialoguing with political parties on their concerns, with another meeting with the parties slated for today.