THE MDC party has threatened to unleash more protests as part of efforts to pile pressure on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to urgently engage with opposition party leader Nelson Chamisa to resolve the country’s political gridlock.
MDC national organising secretary Amos Chibaya told party members at a feedback meeting held in his Mkoba constituency on Saturday that they were determined to force dialogue through countrywide demonstrations.
Chibaya’s call came as Mnangagwa at the weekend threatened to crush any further demonstrations against his administration.
“Do not be afraid. Zimbabweans cannot continue to suffer because of politics. We cannot continue to chant slogans when our people are suffering due to this failed economy.
So, the position of the MDC is that despite all the threats to crush demonstrations by the regime, protests will continue. We will not be shaken. Mr Chamisa and Mr Mnangagwa must sit down for a moment of truth on each other and find a way forward on this crisis. The coming protests will be held, to send this message to Mr Mnangagwa,” Chibaya said.
The legislator, who spent two weeks in remand prison following his arrest over last month’s violent protests against fuel price hikes, vowed to confront the State security.
“I was a member of a team of people which led the crafting of this existing Constitution. I am, therefore, aware that section 59 allows us to stage demonstrations on any matter we will not be happy with. So no one can intimidate us from enjoying that right. The people of Zimbabwe must not be instilled with fear that they will be targeted if they come to the streets. So the position is that we are going ahead with the demonstrations on a date to be announced,” Chibaya said.
“Our protests are going be peaceful. Anyone caught burning buses or destroying property will not be a member of the MDC. The coming protest is for the whole of Zimbabwe to come together and send a message to Mr Mnangagwa that it’s time to talk to Nelson (Chamisa) and map the way forward. According to the contested election results, Chamisa got over two million votes. So yes, Mnangagwa cannot wish him away, the two must dialogue,” Chibaya said.
Mnangagwa told a Zanu PF rally in Masvingo’s Mwenezi district on Saturday that he was ready to deploy soldiers again to quell protests being planned by the MDC.
In a related development, Chitungwiza South legislator Maxwell Mavhunga (MDC Alliance) has vowed to continue helping victims of arbitrary arrests in politically-related issues, as they do not have the capacity to challenge court decisions coming from the lower courts.
The legislator hogged the limelight recently after he handed himself over to the police weeks after last month’s three-day stayaway, which turned violent.
Mavhunga, who is also a lawyer, told NewsDay last week that his recent brushes with the law would not deter him from championing the cause of democracy.
“There was disproportionate use of excessive force. I foresee a lot of litigation coming out of this … the use of live ammunition on civilians and the abduction of people from their homes,” he said.
He said as a lawyer, he did not fear representing victims of State crackdowns on dissent, even if it means him being arrested.
“Most of the people appearing at the courts do not have access and the capacity to challenge the decisions that are coming from the lower courts, especially going through microwaved trials, where you arrive at a police station and don’t even know the witness,” he said.