THE Nelson Chamisa-led MDC has shifted focus from major cities and now wants to carry out its anti-government protests at growth points and smaller towns starting this Friday.
The opposition party leadership has since notified police in Mashonaland East, Manicaland and Mashonaland West on plans to protest at growth points and smaller towns in the provinces on Friday and Saturday.
In Mashonaland East, protests are targeting Mahusekwa, Mutoko, Murehwa, Marondera, Goromonzi and Wedza, while Rusape, Chipinge and Nyanga are prime targets in Manicaland.
MDC Manicaland provincial spokesperson David Panganai confirmed the planned protests.
NewsDay is reliably informed that mobilisation in the rural areas, a Zanu PF stronghold, has begun with disgruntled citizens expected to lead protests against a deteriorating economy for the first time in many years within a rural set-up.
Mashonaland East provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tendai Mwanza was not available for comment yesterday.
But police in Marondera yesterday barred a demonstration slated for the town, saying the move was against the provisions of the Public Order and Security Act.
“The police refused to grant us the go-ahead and we have since been instructed by the party leadership to withdraw the protests until further notice. I will notify the police of the withdrawal. I think the withdrawal instruction also applies to other demonstrations across the province,” MDC Marondera district organising secretary Misheck Manyere said.
The opposition party has over the past two weeks been failing to hold its demonstrations in major cities after being served with police prohibition orders.
However, Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema last night said he was aware that the MDC was plotting to hire buses to ferry people to cause anarchy in rural areas and such an act will not be tolerated. He also warned diplomatic missions against openly siding with the MDC, accusing some non-governmental organisations of formenting chaos in order to get funding.
The minister said the country cannot be continually in election mode and protests will hinder government’s effort to recover the economy.