NewsSouthern AfricaZimbabwe opposition leaders in joint anti-Mugabe protest agreement

Sun,19Nov2017

Posted on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 11:45

Zimbabwe opposition leaders in joint anti-Mugabe protest agreement

By Nqobile Bhebhe

A man carries a poster with a message for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during demonstrations in Harare, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016. Photo©Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP/SIPAZimbabwe's opposition parties are planning a 200,000-man march in the capital Harare on August 26, as part of growing measures to force veteran ruler President Robert Mugabe to step down.

The protest has been endorsed by 12 political parties including MDC-T led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and former vice president Joice Mujuru's Zimbabwe People First.

They must stay in the barracks, not in rural areas intimidating our villagers

Tsvangirai and Mujuru are reportedly on the verge of formalising a 2018 election coalition deal, as last Saturday the pair staged a surprise march in Gweru, about 280 kilometres southwest of Harare.

The 12 parties planning the massive protests fall under the auspices of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA).

The privately owned NewsDay, quoted NERA chairperson, Didymus Mutasa, saying the rare march is aimed at forcing the electoral body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) "to order the army, police and other state security apparatus to stay out of partisan Zanu PF politics".

"We don't want to see the army, police and the intelligence being involved in party politics. We don't want to see soldiers campaigning for Zanu PF or any other party. They must stay in the barracks, not in rural areas intimidating our villagers," Mutasa, a former close ally of Mugabe, said.

Other reforms being sought by opposition parties are the opening up of public media to all political players, transparency in the handling of the voters' roll and its availability in electronic form to all political parties.

They also want ZEC to adopt a biometric national voters' registration exercise to allow all eligible voters to freely register and the parties are keen to see an estimated 3 million Zimbabweans in the Diaspora being allowed to vote through a postal ballot system.

Zimbabwe has been hit by a wave of protests recently and the police have often responded with violent and Mutasa pleaded they "should uphold the law and respect our rights" to demonstrate.

Street protests have become a near-daily occurrence in the southern African country, leaving Mugabe's government scrambling for tactics to respond.

Mugabe last month said people unhappy with the situation should leave the country.

Demonstrators have denounced Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party, accusing it of failing to create up to 2.2 million jobs that it had promised when campaigning during in the last election three years ago.

As if to add onto his woes, a group of war veterans, often seen as his storm troopers, have said they are discontinuing their support for Mugabe, whom they accuse of abandoning the people and throwing away the ideals of the liberation struggle, among other things.

In response, Mugabe (92) threatened them with severe punishment.



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