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Tsvangirai, Mujuru Lead Peaceful Protests in Zimbabwe

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his wife Elizaberth, Zimbabwe People First leader Joice Mujuru, ZimFirst's Didymus Mutasa, Nelson Chamisa of MDC-T

In a move described by both parties as historic, leaders of the Zimbabwe People First (ZimFirst) and the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai joined hands Saturday to stage a peaceful march in Gweru to protest against the continuing social, economic and political problems in Zimbabwe.

The march, which drew hundreds of MDC-T supporters, began just before midday from an open space on the northern outskirts of the central business with the MDC-T's top leadership including vice president Thokozani Khupe and newly appointed vice presidents Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa leading from the front.

There was commotion some moments later when Tsvangirai and his wife Elizabeth, Mujuru and former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa joined the protesters as the supporters jostled to catch a glimpse of the opposition leaders.

There had been fears that the MDC-T march would be a flop as ZimPF had a rally scheduled for Mkoba Stadium outside town.

"Today is a historic day for us. It is a day when the MDC and People First are coming together … We want the people of Zimbabwe to work as one and not to be divided. Today we found a way of working together to deal with the issues affecting us. Everyone is being affected by these issues. We want to weed out all the corruption and nonsensical things that are happening in our midst," Mujuru told the boisterous crowd after she had been given time to give a solidarity speech.

In his keynote address, Tsvangirai who recently went public about having cancer of the colon, thanked his supporters for their continuing to support.

Tsvangirai also described as momentous the fact that Mujuru and her top party officials had joined in the march.

"We welcome all democratic forces that are fighting to remove President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF from power because they are the ones who are causing the suffering that we are all experiencing in this country," Tsvangirai said.

The MDC T leader's speech was punctuated by shouts from supporters expressing their love for their leader.

Tsvangirai reiterated that his party is peace-loving and will continue to use constitutional means of removing Zanu PF from power.

"When we formed the MDC-T we said we wanted to continue pursuing the ideals of the liberation struggle which Zanu PF had lost along the way. We were never a reactionary party contrary to what Zanu PF wants people to believe,"

Tsvangirai urged Mr. Mugabe to relinquish power now before Zimbabweans’ anger against him reaches uncontrollable levels.
He said the party will continue with the protests until President Mugabe relinquishes power, adding that the party is mobilising for one major protest that will make the president to accept that people have had enough of his misrule.

After the speeches, the entourage of both the MDC-T and ZimPF leaders made its way to Mkoba Stadium for the ZimPF rally.

Both Tsvangirai and Mujuru repeated the need for working together to dislodge Mr. Mugabe and his Zanu PF government from power.

Some of the supporters of both the MDC-T and ZimPF who spoke to Studio 7 expressed happiness over the show of solidarity by the opposition leaders.

One MDC-T supporter, who only identified himself as Charles, said he hoped that the show of unity could take a step further.

"I hope that Mujuru is genuine in all this. You know that most people are still suspicious about her real intentions because of her Zanu PF past. But I hope that going forward she can continue to work together with our leader Tsvangirai, who is the incontrovertible face of the opposition," he said.