Thousands of MDC-T supporters Thursday held a protest march at the border town of Mutare without their leader Morgan Tsvangirai who is recovering from an undisclosed ailment.
But in a statement read on his behalf by his deputy, Thokozani Khuphe, Tsvangirai said freedom demonstrations such as the one that took place at the eastern border town would continue until the Zanu PF leadership led by President Robert Mugabe capitulates to national demands from the citizens to address the crippling economy among a host of other needs.
The peaceful demonstration, comprising of about 3 000 protesters started from Sakubva Beithall through to the central business district’s Meikles Park. Traffic came to a virtual standstill as the demonstrators braved the nearly 5km protest march.
Ms Khupe later addressed the gathering at around lunchtime, stating that the protests would be held in some parts of the country after holding others in the capital and in Bulawayo.
“We protesting against poverty, against corruption, against untold suffering, against US-Zim dollar called Bond Notes. Today as Zimbabwe, we find ourselves in an extra-ordinary situation and extra-ordinary situations require extra-ordinary measures. We have and we will continue to invoke Section 59 of the Zimbabwe Constitution which guarantees our right to demonstrate against failures of Mugabe and Zanu PF,” said Khuphe.
Khuphe said citizens have to be prepared to make sacrifices until there is real change, that ends Zanu PF corruption and poverty induced on people through poor governance policies.
Said Khuphe: “Lets us fight with the last drop of our tears, let us fight with the last drop of our sweat, enough is enough, zvakwana, sokwanele.
We will continue to demonstrate until Mugabe and Zanu PF go packing to Zvimba. As MDC our fundamental promise to the people of Zimbabwe is a better life for all.
We hereby as the MDC demand that there be change, a change that will stop corruption, a change that will bring jobs, a change that will bring food on the table and a change that will bring better service delivery.”
Khuphe said Zimbabweans demand to know the whereabouts of $15 billion in diamond revenue from Chiadzwa diamond fields that the Zanu PF led government cannot account for. She added that despite the 2,2 million jobs promised by Zanu PF during its election campaigns in 2013 there has been more unemployment and company closures.
Mr David Tekeshe was among the thousands of demonstrators. He says he supports the democratic path being taken of peaceful protests for regime change.
Said Tekeshe: “The statement from the president I support it since he is democratic. He wants democratic means to remove Mugabe and his people so we applaud him so I think that is the way forward we don’t want war but we have to remove them democratically.”
James Mundenda, a Mutare resident says Mr Tsvangirai’s message was clear to every Zimbabwean who need political change that benefits every citizen.
“The message was straight to the point that gives a clear picture on the ground on the suffering public, he spoke on the need for re-industrialisation, job loses, the forcing of bond notes on the people which everybody is talking about in the streets and everywhere. We heard of the 2,2 million jobs that are not there, the statement was spot on,” said Mudenda.
Jobless University graduate Chenai Mangezi from Chipinge says the statement from the MDC leader breathed a lease of life to the dejected citizenry particularly the youths.
Mangezi said: “It was a powerful speech because he made us as youth to challenge the system and be aggressive in demanding what is rightfully our from the Zanu PG government”
The MDC deputy president was accompanied in Mutare by other top party leaders including Abednigo Bhebhe, Obert Gutu, Paurina Mpariwa, Theresa Makone, Morgan Komichi, Giles Mtsekwa, Douglas Mwonzora among other provincial chairperson from across the country.
MDC’s Manicaland provincial spokesperson Trevor Saruwaka said the demonstration ended peaceful without any arrests or disturbances.