THE Nelson Chamisa-led MDC yesterday said the opposition party will not be cowed into silence by the State, while vowing its planned demonstrations will not be shelved despite threats of a clampdown by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
Instead, the opposition party challenged the government to stop being on the offensive against pro-democracy activists and attend to the pressing economic situation that has triggered an upward spiral of prices.
Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema on Monday issued a thinly-veiled attack on the opposition, claiming the State had gathered intelligence of planned civil unrest.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said demonstrations were constitutional and as a party they will not be deterred by such threats.
Mafume said the State is misleading itself with fake letters purportedly coming from the party reportedly implicating opposition leaders, Chamisa and Tendai Biti in the January violence.
“We don’t need greenlights for any demonstrations. They are a constitutional right and enshrined in section 59, to be (precise),” Mafume said.
“It is the person who has a problem with a demonstration who has to indicate what problem he has. To express ourselves is constitutionally enshrined and we don’t need to seek anyone’s permission.
“We will continue our peaceful demonstrations under the leadership of president Nelson Chamisa as and when it is necessary to do so together with aggrieved members of society.”
Mafume said instead of issuing threats, the government must work out solutions in the face of the deteriorating economic situation.
Mafume also encouraged party members to attend the memorial service of their founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai at his rural home in Humanikwa village, Buhera, over the weekend.
He said the requirement by the family not to bring regalia, but that of Tsvangirai, has no effect because all MDC members are also the Tsvangirai family.
“We will attend that in full force, we are going to be wearing whatever we want, whether it is party regalia or not. As you remember, Tsvangirai is the founder of MDC. We are the family of Tsvangirai, his family is the MDC.
“They were beaten with him, they suffered with him, they died with him and some of us are carrying the scars of being part of Morgan Richard Tsvangirai’s family. The family has no demarcation, the whole of Zimbabwe, the MDC and everyone who died in his name, everyone who was tortured in the name of MDC is his family,” he said.