MDC sets protest date

MDC sets protest date

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa says his party is now ready to take President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government head-on and force a lasting solution to the current socio-economic crisis ripping through the nation.

Chamisa, addressing a Press briefing in Harare yesterday after concluding “seven days of prayer and fasting”, said his party was taking decisive action immediately after notifying the police in line with the law that it would take to the streets on August 16.

“I know some of you have been saying ‘why are you praying’. There is no dialogue between man and man which is not ordained by God. Now that we have dialogued with God, we have to dialogue man and man; and to be able to do that, we have to take some practical steps going forward and those decisive steps are going to be announced to you in due course,” he said.

Chamisa called on the nation to rise to his call and liberate itself from the “Zanu PF yoke of bondage” characterised by poor salaries, shortages, price increases and expensive basic commodities.

“As we move to the next steps of very decisive action to be taken, in peace, in non-violence, (let us make) sure that we give effect to something that speaks to works, because faith without works is dead. We now need to do the work, roll up our sleeves and we, as a people, be our own liberators; be our own answers; be our own solutions. There can’t be problems in a country that we are not able to deal with, particularly when God is in it,” Chamisa said.

“We are suffering in our country with shortages of everything, but the most important thing is that we don’t have a shortage of faith and worship and because our God is in it, nothing is going to defeat us.”

The Press briefing came as the MDC, through its organising secretary Amos Chibaya, recently approached police and gave notice of a public demonstration against Mnangagwa.

“Take notice that we do hereby give you notice of the said public demonstration, which will be held in Harare on the 16th of August 2019,” Chibaya wrote to the police.

The MDC said it would demonstrate against vices that have afflicted the general population, which arise from the legitimacy question around the 2018 general elections.

“We state, in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, our wish for a resolution of the current challenges facing the people of Zimbabwe. The national challenges are a result of a governance and legitimacy crisis arising primarily out of the disputed elections of July 2018. The national crisis is typified by corruption, unemployment and power shortages,” Chibaya wrote.

Chibaya is currently facing charges of attempting to subvert a constitutionally-elected government after allegedly inciting demonstrations in January to protest against a 150% fuel price hike.

The largely violent protests left 17 dead after being shot by the army.

The demonstration, next week on Friday, will start from 10am and end at 4pm.

The MDC intends to formally hand over a petition to Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa Offices and another to Parliament outlining the challenges facing the nation.

Party deputy organising secretary Happymore Chidziva rallied Zimbabweans, saying new heroes should be born in the month Zimbabwe has reserved to celebrate the fallen liberation war heroes.

“The month of August is the month of heroes. The spirit of heroes should arise in you and take the steps that were taken by those before us to liberate ourselves, the time is now,” he said.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the police were not yet aware of the intended demonstration.

“As police headquarters, at this point, we are not even aware of the regulating authority having received the alleged notification of the demonstration by the MDC,” he said.

“The decision on the way forward is made by the regulating authority, who is the Officer Commanding Harare.”

There are fears that the planned protests could turn bloody following threats by top Zanu PF and government officials — particularly Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri and her deputy Victor Matemadanda — to unleash the army on the protestors.

Previous protests held on August 1, 2018 and January 14, 2019 turned fatal after State security agents fired live ammunition on unarmed civilians, a move that attracted global condemnation.