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MDC Alliance, Several Opposition Parties Backing Push for Mass Protests in Zimbabwe

FILE: A woman lies in the road after being injured by police during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug, 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
FILE: A woman lies in the road after being injured by police during protests in Harare, Friday, Aug, 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Some political parties and members of the public say they support organizations calling for mass demonstrations at the end of July this year, pushing for the end of Zanu PF rule.

The MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa, Build Zimbabwe’s Noah Manyika, former Industry and International Trade Minister and 2018 presidential candidate Nkosana Moyo, and several organizations have openly backed the planned protests, saying Zimbabweans are now failing to make ends meet due to hyperinflation and other issues.

Political commentator, Mlungisi Dube, says it’s not surprising that opposition parties are supporting the planned protests.

“People are suffering now and right now many opposition parties and members of the public are supporting this move. They are fed up with the high levels of corruption in the country and the economic crisis.

“They want to show the government that they are not happy with what is happening in Zimbabwe. Most people are saying something should be done as they can’t afford to have food on the table, pay electricity and water bills and other issues.”

MDC Alliance legislator, Prince Dubeko Sibanda, says they are backing the protests.

“Our leader Advocate Nelson Chamisa has indicated that the economic situation is bad in Zimbabwe due to lack of leadership in Zimbabwe. As a result, there is now a vacuum in terms of leadership and therefore there is need to take some measures to rectify this. But he noted that it’s not yet time to take such action even if we are supporting the protests.”

Zanu PF believes that the protests have a regime-change agenda.

The ruling party’s Simba Mavaza, who is based in the United Kingdom, says demonstration won’t reboot Zimbabwe’s economy.

“The purpose of this demonstration is not to make things right. It’s a demonstration to change the government in an unlawful way. The government is changed through elections and not demonstrations. If they are some grievances, bring them to the government in a fair way. Demonstrating is the wrong way. It’s a risk putting people in the streets, exposing them to COVID-19 and temptations to break into shops. This will lead to arrest, violence, injuries and deaths.

“The opposition is setting up government for a fight. We are not saying people are not suffering. Government is aware. Have they (planned protesters) taken any issues to the government? People are free to demonstrate but this is not the way to do it. Power is acquired through elections and not demonstrations. If any political party wants to rule Zimbabwe, wait got 2023 harmonized elections. I think some opposition parties are trying to seek relevance by engaging in these demonstrations. Demonstrations are sources of violence and so some people will be arrested, injured and or killed. If there is no proper leadership in the opposition parties, we may witness a chaotic situation in Zimbabwe. Demos are sources of seeking relevance by using people. People will lose and not the parties.”

Khaliphani Pugeni, presidential spokesperson of the MDC formation led by Thokozani Khupe said the MDC-T won't take part in the protests.

"We won't be part of the protests as people may be exposed to COVID-19. We know that people are suffering but we believe that this is not the right time for protests. Once the COVID-19 crisis is over, we will take part in such protests."

Several Zimbabweans were shot dead by security forces in 2018 and 2019 when some people engaged in street protests over delays in announcing presidential election results and fuel price increases of up to 150% announced by Mnangagwa.