Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday led thousands of his Movement for Democratic Change supporters in street protests demanding an explanation to the missing $15 billion diamond proceeds and an end to rising poverty and unemployment.
Thousands of MDC-T supporters gathered at an open space near Zanu PF headquarters that the opposition has dubbed Freedom Square before Tsvangirai, his wife Elizabeth, and the top MDC brass led them through the central business district to Africa Unity Square adjacent to parliament.
The placard-carrying protestors sang revolutionary songs as they marched through Robert Mugabe Way turning into Julius Nyerere before making another turn into Nelson Mandela, going past their party’s headquarters and headed to Africa Unity Square where Tsvangirai addressed them.
While at Africa Unity Square, their final destination, Tsvangirai urged President Mugabe to step down immediately to allow for a new crop of what he described as “able leaders” to take over the running of the country’s affairs. Tsvangirai noted though that he was not calling for the overthrow of the sitting government.
Tsvangirai told his supporters that he was worried by the ruling party’s failure to create the 2.2 million jobs that the president promised in the run-up to the 2013 national elections, adding that poverty was now rife in the country.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says close to 1,000 companies have shut down following the polls that the opposition says were fundamentally flawed.
MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora said his party was demanding an explanation to the missing $15 billion in diamond proceeds, noting that the protests would spread to other provinces in the next few days before a national mass action is announced.
The MDCT’s Harare provincial organizing secretary Rhino Mashaya said the only solution to the economic and political crises in Zimbabwe was for Mr. Mugabe to leave office.
Mr. Mugabe stunned the nation recently when he claimed that his government could not account for more $15 billion in diamond sales generated from Manicaland province.
As the opposition supporters marched in the streets of Harare, heavily armed police patrolled the streets and barricaded the road when protestors intended to march on parliament.
The march proceeded after the High Court on Wednesday ordered the police not to stop the opposition from protesting.