ZIMBABWE is bracing for yet another round of street protests today
against President Robert Mugabe and his government’s policy failures
that have resulted in worsening socio-economic problems in the country.
This comes as youth pressure group, Tajamuka/Sesijikile, has threatened to scale up anti-government demonstrations and make the country ungovernable if Mugabe does not announce plans to relinquish power by August 31.
Organisers of today’s protests said they will not be deterred by Mugabe’s threats against demonstrators and will be taking to the streets to express their frustration over his rule.
High Court judge, Justice Lavender Makoni yesterday granted Transform Zimbabwe (TZ), which was represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights lawyer, Kennedy Masiye, permission to march in the capital against the introduction of bond notes after police had sought to stop the protest.
TZ said after the march, they will hand over a petition to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya to drop the planned introduction of bond notes.
Tajamuka/Sesijikile, who are also part of the demonstration, declared there was no going back in their quest to push Mugabe out, as he had shown glaring signs of incompetency.
“We are part of the march and what I would want the nation to know is that in future, there will be no going to the courts again. There is no point in going to the court for our fundamental rights. People like (war veterans’ spokesperson, Douglas) Mahiya went to war for us to enjoy our fundamental rights, which are supported by the Constitution,” Tajamuka spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi said.
“The President has failed and he must step down. Instead of instilling fear and intimidating citizens,
he must protect them. Intimidation is a very clear sign of failure. People should come out in their numbers tomorrow because there is no going back anymore until this regime gives up.”
Mkwananzi said Auditor-General Mildred Chisi’s reports on corruption showed that Mugabe had failed to govern and it was time he left.
“If he doesn’t step down by August 31, we are going to use every means permissible in a democracy to ensure that he doesn’t run this country anymore,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Coalition of Unemployed Graduates, which has a separate march in town, said they would not be deterred by police brutality, as they seek to pile pressure on Mugabe.
“We are going ahead with the protest, although some people are now feeling intimidated by the
President’s remarks on protesters. However, we will proceed with our planned march, as we seek to clear the root cause of unemployment in Zimbabwe,” one of the co-ordinators, Kudzai Hove, said.
“We want the government to address corruption, nepotism, disregard of the rule of law and policy inconsistency, among others.”
Hove said they would also push to meet Mugabe they can deliver their concerns directly to him.
He said it would be unfortunate if Mugabe refuses to hear their concerns, warning that they would amplify their push for him to leave power.
“We are still pushing again to meet the President tomorrow because we want to tell him how to run a country and see if he takes what we tell him before embarking on a Mugabe Must Go campaign,” Hove said.
Mangudya yesterday said people were free to demonstrate against any government policy, although he expressed concerns that the demonstrations were being done out of ignorance and to get political mileage.
“I think some of these things are being done out of ignorance and some for political capital. The issue of bond notes, I believe, is being misunderstood to some extent. Let me say it here again: The bond notes are aimed at incentivising our production and export sector. They are not replacing the US dollar value and will not replace the multi-currency regime. People ought to understand that this is a production-boosting mechanism,” he said
“We are just trying to incentivise our producers and exporters, hence, we are giving out these bond notes. When someone exports, the central bank is coming in with a 5% incentive through a bond note as a way of saying thank you for exporting and bringing the much-needed foreign currency.” Newsday