BUOYED by the support from millions of Zimbabweans who heeded Wednesday’s anti-government protests, civic society groups yesterday threatened to roll out more demonstrations to push out President Robert Mugabe’s regime and pave way for fresh elections.
BY EVERSON MUSHAVA/ REJOICE CHINGWARU
The Wednesday protests — co-ordinated by #ThisFlag and supported by Tajamuka/Sesijikile, Occupy Africa Unity Square and all opposition parties — virtually brought the country to a halt, although Zanu PF declared that it was unmoved by the action.
Yesterday, Tajamuka/Sesijikile spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said his lobby group would continue to partner #ThisFlag frontman Evan Mawarire in rolling out a series of protests aimed at piling pressure on Mugabe to step down.
Mkwananzi’s threat came at a time some civic society groups were planning to storm Mugabe’s official residence, State House, tomorrow.
“The public should expect more action of various forms,” Mkwananzi said.
“There is no other option for the government of Zimbabwe than to heed what we are calling for. The call for Mugabe to step down is a public call; there is nothing illegal about it.
“I can assure the nation that from here onwards, we will be carrying out every action possible to put pressure on government to heed our calls. We have said by August 31, the President should have spoken to the masses about the crisis that is going on in the country.”
Mkwananzi added: “There is no doubt that the stay away was a massive success. Indeed, it shook the corridors of power in Zimbabwe. For the first time in many years, the regime is shaken to the core as evidenced by its panic announcement of payment dates for civil servants.”
The former MDC-T youth leader said Wednesday’s stay away was evidence that the people have the power to recall the “corrupt and criminal” regime.
“There is no going back now. We need to press the regime until it has met our non-negotiable demands. If we retreat now, we stand to lose much more than we will gain from pushing forward until the current government resigns and spells out a peaceful transitional mechanism.”
Mkwananzi said his lobby group, made up of youths from 14 opposition political parties and various other pressure groups, had come up with non-negotiable demands which Mugabe should honour without delay.
They are demanding Mugabe’s resignation to allow a transitional government to steer the country out of the current economic quagmire, the immediate release of arrested protesters, the return of missing activist Itai Dzamara, disbandment of plans to introduce bond notes and an end of police brutality, among others.
“This is just the beginning of a historic process in ensuring the transformation and regeneration of our country. We will be advising on the next course of action, in consultation and in line with the wishes and aspirations of the people. There is no going back now. We will continue with our peaceful, but resolute means of showing President Mugabe and his government that we are fed up,” Mkwananzi said.
“We have realised that President Mugabe has become a sticking point in terms of reform because of his incumbency. The issue of President Mugabe is intrinsically linked to the reforms. He has to pave way for reforms.”
But Zanu PF secretary for administration and Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo on Wednesday threatened to unleash brute force to ruthlessly crush dissenting voices, claiming the Wednesday protests bordered on a regime change agenda sponsored by the main opposition MDC-T and its Western allies.
“The State security organisations are working round the clock to put the situation firmly under control and those found on the wrong side of the law will be severely dealt with and they will have no one to blame. They are being seriously warned to desist from this unwanted behaviour. Zanu PF is quite steadfast, is focused on what we need to do and we cannot be shaken by these activities, not at all,” Chombo said.