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Most Harare Residents Support Mass Protest, Others Jittery Over Expected Loses

Some of vendors fear that they may register huge loses. (Photo: Patricia Mudadidgwa)

Social media has been flooded with messages urging Zimbabweans to stay home Wednesday as local people are set to stage a protest on current problems bedeviling the country.

Some of the people calling for a complete shutdown of businesses are Pastor Evan Mawarire of #ThisFlag movement and youth calling themselves Tajamuka-Sesijikile.

In a video circulating on WhatsApp and periscope, Pastor Mawarire says the "shut down" is designed to force President Robert Mugabe’s government to respond to the needs of Zimbabweans.

While the situation was calm Wedneday in Harare's central business district, some local residents interviewed by Studio 7 expressed mixed feelings over the proposed complete shutdown of the city being proposed by civil society leaders and political activists.

One of the residents, Isaac Watsomba, said he has not yet made a decision on whether to go to work or stay home.

Watsomba, who works for a private company in the central business district, said he will assess the situation before making a decision on the mass action.

However, the majority of the residents, who spoke to Studio 7, said they will join the stay away.

Report on Zimbabwe Protests Filed By Patricia Mudadigwa
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Twenty-seven year old Jeff Chaitezvi, who claimed that he holds a Master's degree, said despite the violence that characterized protests in Harare yesterday, he has no option but to take part in the mass protest since he is currently unemployed.

Another resident, Yvonne Musarurwa, who is a vendor, said it was pointless to engage in this protest as she is likely to lose a lot of business Wednesday.

But Tongai Mhazo, a Budiriro resident, said many people in Harare spent the whole day today encouraging each other not to go to work tomorrow.

Mhazo said he fully supports the peaceful complete shutdown of the city and hoped that President Mugabe would listen to their grievances.

Efforts to contact presidential spokesman, George Charamba, were fruitless as his mobile phone was not reachable. Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo declined to comment.

Section 59 of Zimbabwe’s constitution states that every person has the right to demonstrate and to present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully.