Battlelines Drawn: MDC Alliance vows to go ahead with Gweru demo with or without police clearance

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THE opposition MDC has vowed to go ahead with its planned demonstration set for Gweru today, with or without the police clearance.

Takavafira Zhou, MDC Midlands spokesperson, said the position was taken at a meeting held on Saturday in Gweru by the opposition’s provincial leadership led by Josiah Makombe.

“The provincial executive of the Midlands province of the MDC, including all district chairpersons and national members, met in Gweru on August 17, 2019 and resolved that the planned Gweru demonstration would proceed as originally planned,” he said.

“The national leaders of the party will lead the demonstrations that are constitutional and an expression of the people’s anger due to the deteriorating political, economic and social conditions emanating from a crisis of legitimacy, bad governance and poverty caused by the Zanu PF leadership.”

Zhou said police were notified of the demonstration, but did not respond.

The Midlands is President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s home province.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told Southern Eye that he was in a meeting and so could not comment on whether the law enforcement agents would okay or ban the demonstration.

Zhou, however, said the MDC was not concerned about whatever action the police would take.

“The police were notified in terms of the law. We expect them to act in a professional manner to compliment the MDC quest to ensure that the demonstration is peaceful. Our security is and would be on high alert to sniff out and discard infilltrators bent on causing chaos and disturbances in order to discredit the MDC,” the party official said.

“Peace marshals are already in place and would apprehend and hand over to the arresting authorities any infiltrators bent on disturbing peace, while attempts to put cameras along our route are at an advanced stage. All the 28 districts stretching from Gokwe to Mberengwa expressed their preparedness to participate in the demonstration and to mobilise their hard-earned resources to make the event a success.”

Last week, police ruthlessly crushed a similar demonstration in Harare and also rounded up MDC leaders who were mobilising for another one in Bulawayo.

Police also banned the Bulawayo protest yesterday.

— NewsDay


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