Thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched through Harare today under close surveillance by armed police in the first rally since a deadly crackdown on an election protest in August.
Singing and waving placards denouncing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rule, the protesters gathered in the centre of the Zimbabwean capital to hear speeches ahead of a march.
The event, which was held with police approval, was organised by the main opposition MDC party, which says it was cheated of victory in the July 30 election, eight months after long-time leader Robert Mugabe was ousted.
“Mnangwagwa must go,” read one banner at today’s protest alongside others reading “You stole my vote, please give it back” as well as slogans demanding justice over the August 1 shootings.
Much of the marchers’ anger was focused on Zimbabwe’s renewed economic problems, with people struggling to cope with dramatic price rises and shortages of essentials like bread, cooking oil and petrol.
“We are here to demonstrate against the economic crisis and the election that was stolen,” said Donald Bango, a 25-year-old security guard.
“There are no jobs. The current government is not doing anything to fix our problems,” he said.
Marching through the rain, the protesters chanted praise for MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who claims he is the rightful winner of the election.
“Prices of basic commodities are going up and we cannot access drugs from pharmacies,” said Rachel Chakanetsa, a 53-year-old widow who was at the demonstration.
“We are in dire poverty. The situation must be addressed urgently.”
Others were, however skeptical about the demonstration asking: “After the demonstrations, what next?”
One Zovia tweeted on the MDC handle: “Mukawana nguva mukwane. If you are not singing in Parliament and faking fainting, you are in the streets. Is that all there is to do?! With such a character, one is adequately convinced that MDC, not ZANU PF, is the major stumbling block to national development.”
Coolboy added: “Maelections haahwiniwe nema Demo , harare is not zim, wasting poeple’s time do u think ED will step down cz u demonstrate ? , yes he was not voted by harareans but voted by the whole zim. Good day stupid demonstrators.”-AFP/Own
If I may ask the international media:How many thousands we at the Mentally Disturbed Children MDC-Alliance demo?