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Are Protests Making Any Impact in Zimbabwe?

Two journalists who were arrested for covering a public protest freelancer Robert Tapfumaneyi and Newsday's Obey Manati.
Two journalists who were arrested for covering a public protest freelancer Robert Tapfumaneyi and Newsday's Obey Manati.

Itai Dzamara disappeared 17 months ago when his protest movement, Occupy Africa Unity Square, urged President Robert Mugabe to step down for allegedly failing to step down.

Similar protests demanding the president’s exit and for government to tackle serious issues affecting the nation have been staged by Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign, Pastor Evan Mawarire’s hashtag this flag campaign, hashtag this gown and several others.

Church leader Ancellimo Magaya and his followers on Thursday protested in Harare demanding that government should address the current harsh social and economic situation in the country.

Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign is staging at the end of this month what is calls “the mother of all protests to demand the resignation of President Mugabe”.

But what has been the impact of these protests in bringing social, economic and political transformation in Zimbabwe? For perspective, Studio 7 reached Zanu PF lawmaker Joseph Tshuma and Thabitha Khumalo, an MDC legislator.

Khumalo said protests are rattling President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party, which has been in power for 36 years.

“People are doing all this because Zanu PF does not want to address what is affecting them. Zanu PF is refusing to listen to what people are saying. These demonstrations started in a slow pace after the disappearance of Itai Dzamara (leader of Occupy Africa Africa Unity Square). They decided not to listen to what Dzamara was saying …”

But Tshuma dismissed these remarks saying that the Movement for Democratic Change formations and other opposition parties are now fond of blaming Zanu PF for all problems affecting Zimbabwe.

“… The problem that we have is that we have MDC blaming us for everything. Now they are even blaming us for abducting Dzamara. But the honest truth is that there were people who were stronger than Itai Dzamara who did worse (things) than Dzamara and there are still there, including Thabitha Khumalo … She knows what she is capable of doing and what she has been doing but has never disappeared.

“I never knew Itai Dzamara until when he was said to have disappeared. Why would we be in charge of making his disappearance happen .. Why not Thabitha Khumalo? Why not Morgan Tsvangirai? Why not Job Sikhala? Why not Tendai Biti? Why not people who really matter who have really caused shivers down our spine? Let’s be honest. Let us now blame everything on Zanu PF. Even now when the rains don’t fall they will say it’s Zanu PF. When there is a cold spell is Zanu PF.”

Some of the protests have been led by Pastor Evan Mawarire of #thisflag movement, Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign, #thisflag, the MDC-T and several other organizations mostly calling on President Mugabe to step down for allegedly failing to run Zimbabwe.

Interview With Joseph Tshuma And Thabitha Khumalo
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