With the country’s economy in freefall, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has set May 28 for another massive demonstration in the former industrial hub of Bulawayo — as it seeks to tighten screws on the “clueless” governing Zanu PF party.
Apparently, buoyed by the success of its first demonstration that was held in Harare last month, the opposition party says its planned Bulawayo protest will be a wake- up call to the governing party.
Nowhere is the economic malaise more apparent than in Bulawayo where most industries have shut down and the majority of people have since relocated to neighbouring South Africa.
“The Bulawayo demonstration is going to be bigger than Harare, there is no doubt about that,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News.
“Our team is currently mobilising people and judging from the way they are doing their mobilisation across all the constituencies . . . we are looking for not less than 20 000 people,” said Gutu.
Against a backdrop of a government that is in sixes and sevens and which recently said it was introducing bond notes to deal with a biting cash shortage, Gutu said his party is gearing up for more demonstrations around the country in a bid to force President Robert Mugabe to resign.
After Bulawayo, we are going to move to other provinces. We don’t have actual dates, for now, but the demonstrations will move on to other cities and towns, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare and Kwekwe.”
According to Gutu, the demonstrations will also be held in rural areas, which are supposedly Zanu PF strongholds.
“People should know that when you are planning successful demonstrations, it’s not only about time. There are logistical issues, you need to liaise with the law enforcement agents, you can’t wake up and tell them that tomorrow we are going to have a demonstration, you have to plan,” said Gutu.
The MDC demonstration in Harare only succeeded after the High Court intervention.
“We know where to go if the police try to disturb our march . . . Section 59 of the Constitution gives us the right to stage peaceful demonstrations. The Harare demonstration was one of the most peaceful that I have ever witnessed in Harare.
“If they say that they were skirmishes, those skirmishes were happening in their heads whoever was saying that,” added Gutu.
The MDC is protesting against a number of issues, including Zanu PF’s failure to fulfil its promise to create 2,2 million jobs as espoused in the party’s 2013 election manifesto.