THE Nelson Chamisa-led opposition MDC party has said it is going to employ peace marshals and electronically monitor its planned protest on Friday to guard against possible infiltration and hijacking by unruly elements.
MDC has set August 16 as the date to protest against the government’s handling of the economy, which is mired in its worst crisis in a decade which it claims has plunged most citizens into poverty.
The move to secure the protests follows speculation that Zanu PF youths were already printing MDC T-shirts to use to perpetrate violence and justify heavy police and military intervention to stop protests against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration over the worsening economy.
“No stone has been left unturned in strict measures to ensure that the people’s free Zimbabwe march is going to be most peaceful, one ever witnessed in the country,” MDC national spokesperson Daniel Molokele said in a statement yesterday.
“Digital cameras will be used to film the entire march to ensure that any violent planted elements trying to disrupt the peaceful march will be fully recorded. This is meant to ensure that the people’s free Zimbabwe march is not just guaranteed to be peaceful, but also to be a resounding success.”
In the past, the MDC accused Zanu PF supporters of infiltrating their protests to perpetrate violent activities and justify police heavy-handedness as well as portray the opposition party as violent.
Zanu PF youths reportedly torched a Zupco bus during the January protests over fuel price hikes. Police and the military later intervened and shot into the protestors. Seventeen people were fatally shot, 200 injured and over 1 000 arrested, mainly opposition members.
Zanu PF secretary for youth affairs, Pupurai Togarepi last week vowed to deal with the MDC protesters, accusing the opposition party of having already failed to meet the test for peace, raising fears the ruling party would trigger violence to cause the arrest of MDC officials.
But Molokele said his party will deploy hundreds of peace marshals to monitor the demonstration.
The party, Molokele said, was concerned by the spirited attempts by the Zanu PF regime to tarnish the march.
“Indeed, Zanu PF and the rogue regime have no business, whatsoever, related to the people’s peaceful march. It is very clear that both Zanu PF and the rogue regime are now in a panic mode and desperate to justify their well-known own violent behaviour,” he said.
“This then explains why they are now actively using their functionaries such as Cain Mathema (Home Affairs minister), Pupurai Togarepi, Energy Mutodi (Information deputy minister) and Victor Matemadanda (Defence deputy minister), among others, in a futile attempt to dictate the nature and character of the forthcoming people’s peaceful march. Indeed, Zimbabweans are not surprised at all by the rogue regime’s desperate efforts to disrupt the popular people’s march.”
Molokele said, ironically the Zanu PF government claimed it was a “new dispensation”, yet its behaviour showed it was nothing, but the same old Zanu PF regime Zimbabweans have feared since 1980.
He said no amount of determined attempts by the regime would stop the popular tide of the people’s call for democratic change in Zimbabwe, claiming Zimbabweans were now tired of endless suffering, painful repression from a rogue regime and willing to take action.
“The rogue regime must be reminded that the people of Zimbabwe are now so determined to make sure that all perpetrators of violent injustice will no longer be allowed to get away with murder, both literally and metaphorically. So, it is now just a matter of time before freedom and justice prevail in Zimbabwe,” Molokele said.
He said the difficult economic situation in the country would force many people, including churches, businesspeople, labour, students and civic movements to join the protests.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has already come out in support of the protests and women’s rights activist Maureen Kademaunga has also thrown her weight behind the MDC call for protests.
“A loaf of bread now costs $10 and I still have to queue for it. Life is tough out here, I can’t watch while my children starve. August 16, I am hitting the streets, @TogarepiPupurai you can kill me for exercising my section 59 rights and for standing up for my children,” Kademaunga tweeted on Saturday.