About 4 000 people yesterday showed up for an anti-bond note demonstration organised by MDC-T in Bulawayo – a far cry from the 30 000 the organisers claimed would flock into the streets of Zimbabwe’s second-largest city.
Coming three days after Zanu-PF mobilised more than 100 000 to march in support of President Mugabe in Harare, observers said MDC-T was clearly losing the numbers game ahead of the 2018 elections.
In April, MDC-T organised an anti-President Mugabe march in Harare, with the BBC estimating the turnout for that demonstration was about 2 000.
MDC-T claimed the figure was closer to 10 000, adding that uncertainty over whether or not the march would be sanctioned by the courts had resulted in many of its supporters not showing up.
The opposition said its next march would be bigger and indicate a build-up in mobilisation ahead of the 2018 polls. But yesterday’s showing in Bulawayo pointed to a party struggling to find a message that resonates with the public.
Bed-ridden MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai was not in attendance with his deputy Ms Thokozani Khupe covering for him at the damp squib of an event.
Party secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora tried to downplay the flop, changing tack and saying it was a provincial event even though the party had claimed Bulawayo was its stronghold and the march would be bigger than the Harare farce.
Mr Mwonzora strangely claimed MDC-T’s march yesterday “was bigger than the Million Man March” organised by Zanu-PF earlier in the week.
MDC-T Bulawayo spokesperson Mr Mandla Sibanda said they had expected 30 000 people, and blamed the poor showing on logistical problems. sunday mail