A POLICE ban on an anti-government demonstration in Harare has not broken the spirits of party loyalists in Midlands who have vowed to stage their own protest in Gweru, the capital of Midlands, widely considered President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s backyard.
The main opposition had organised protests against the country’s fast deteriorating economic situation for major cities – Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo.
The Harare demonstration was banned by police who went on to violently crush a protest that was staged by defiant crop of party supporters.
However, the violent Harare scenes have done little to dampen the spirits of party activists in Midlands who have vowed “baton sticks from underpaid policemen” will not deter them.
MDC national executive member and Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya told NewZimbabwe weekend they were proceeding with a peaceful protest.
“We remain disturbed by the heavy handedness in which the police exhibited on the 16th of August 2019 at the Harare demonstration but our people have resolved to come out in their numbers to march in peace,” said Chikwinya.
He added, “The harsh economic conditions which have seen the citizens going for 20 hours without electricity, winding fuel queues, deplorable civil servants salaries and meagre pensions against spiralling basic commodity prices are more painful than a baton stick from an underpaid policeman.
“We expect the police to protect the citizens and not beat up peaceful old women and men exercising their constitutional right to demonstrate,” he said.
The planned protest in Midlands sparked heated exchanges between Zanu PF and MDC youths in the province.
Zanu PF youths said they will “not stand akimbo and watch as elements of disorder molest Zanu PF’s five year mandate to govern”.
On the other hand, MDC Midlands provincial youth chair, Sekai Marashe said, “The youth assembly will never be intimidated to abandon our constitutional mandate to register our displeasure about the current clueless and illegitimate government.”
The exchanges were made before police in Bulawayo had banned a planned party protest in the second largest city Sunday.
It was not clear what success prospects the Midlands protest had in the wake of the ban in Harare and Bulawayo.