Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa is cranking up the heat on President Emmerson Mnangagwa, amid revelations that the MDC will soon launch fresh mass protests against the government despite the ongoing brutal crackdown by authorities against opposition and pro-democracy activists.
This comes as Western powers are piling pressure on the government, with British Ambassador to Harare – Melanie Robinson – reiterating forthrightly yesterday that the United Kingdom was “extremely concerned” about the growing incidence of abductions in the country.
Yesterday the MDC’s top leadership convened in Harare today to review their foiled countrywide protests which were ruthlessly crushed by the police and soldiers and resolved to continue piling pressure on Mnangagwa’s regime.
The leaders were expected to brainstorm and come up with new strategies to force President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to restore political and economic stability in the country.
Highly-placed MDC sources said party leader Nelson Chamisa, after being outfoxed by Mnangagwa on the diplomatic front in the region, will be looking for new ways to continue piling up political pressure on the Zanu-PF government.
“The meeting comes in the face of blocked demonstrations in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and other towns. The MDC is clear that political pressure is the only alternative given that leaders on the continent are siding with the oppressive regime. So we are now finding new ways of venting and they are there,” the source said.
Using the Public Order and Security Act, the police banned demonstrations slated for Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru between Friday and yesterday, deploying heavily armed police to disperse the protesters. The opposition tried to use the courts, but left with egg on the face after the courts upheld the police’s prohibition orders.
Deputy party spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed the meeting would take place to devise new strategies.
“These are not normal times in the country. The nation is agitated due to enormous national grievances that include power shortages, fuel shortages, unemployment as well as the imposition of a debased currency that has dismally failed to provide respite to the despondent nation. Amid all this, we are experiencing what amounts to the subversion of the constitutional order in the country. The fascist regime has staged yet another coup, this time, a coup of the Constitution of the country and we are basically under a de facto state of emergency. Under these circumstances, the leadership has to meet and will meet,” Tamborinyoka said.
“When you see the State machinery all over our towns attempting to stop the citizens from exercising their constitutional rights, it amounts to a coup of the Constitution. The crude and fascist banning of the citizens’ right to march peacefully means there is a need to discuss the mammoth crisis and gross violation of human rights,” he said.
Turning to Sadc, the MDC said while it continues with its diplomatic offensive, it was dismayed that Mnangagwa had been made the chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
Contacted for comment, Zanu-PF secretary for legal affairs Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said the ruling party was not worried about the MDC’s change of tact.
“The party does not enforce the laws of this country. We are, therefore, not concerned about the restrategising of the MDC,” he said.
MDC-Alliance demonstrations that were set for Mutare yesterday suffered a stillbirth after residents ignored the call and went about their daily chores.
Police on Wednesday issued a prohibition notice stopping the demonstrations arguing previous such acts by the MDC Alliance in Mutare had turned violent. Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba had urged people to ignore the opposition call for demonstrations.
She said the province was focused on projects to uplift the people’s lives and not on destructive demonstrations.
Meanwhile, churches have condemned some foreign missions stationed in Zimbabwe for interfering in the country’s internal affairs.
Speaking on behalf of 2 500 pastors and church leaders, Reverend Obadiah Musindo of Destiny for Africa Network, said Zimbabweans should not be hoodwinked to aid regime change agenda being pursued by some foreign missions by participating in destructive actions such as demonstrations.
He said Zimbabweans had to be aware that Western nations had hidden agendas against the nation.