Sat, Sep 17, 2016
Since President Robert Mugabe rose to power in 1987, there has been no love lost between him and anti-government protesters who are demonstrating against President Mugabe as the country’s economy deepens in recent weeks
Following the strings of protests which started on July 6, 2016 against President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabweans are at it again with another tension-soaked demonstration.
Since President Robert Mugabe rose to power in 1987, there has been no love lost between him and anti-government protesters who are demonstrating against his rule as the country’s economy deepened in recent weeks.
The BBC report said the protests were due to Zimbabwe’s economic crunch, resulting into government's inability to pay civil servants and banks in Zimbabwe running out of money.
Describing the situation , former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, once considered the nation’s strongest opposition figure, said, “the people’s desperation is very deep," hence the need for the demonstrations”
Protest Leader, Promise Mkwananzi said the demonstration was just a build-up to a "national shutdown" on August 31.
The shutdown activists' five demands include: pay civil servants on time, reduce roadblocks and stop officers harassing people for cash, President Robert Mugabe should fire and prosecute corrupt officials, plans to introduce bond notes to ease a cash shortage should be abandoned and the last is to remove a recent ban on imported goods.
The protest initially started peacefully with supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) carrying anti-Mugabe placards and singing party songs before party leader Tsvangirai gave a speech against the President Mugabe.
"Mugabe has no solution to the crisis," "We are here to tell Mugabe and his regime that you have failed."
This was in addition to another ongoing activism campaign on twitter with the hashtag #ThisFlag.
This flag campaigner, Pastor Evan Mawarire told the BBC that “Our protest—non-violent, non-inciting, stay-at-home is the best because is within the confines of the law”
The peaceful protest however, did not last long before it snow-balled into a violent one as government's anti-riot baton-carrying police have been spotted dispersing protesters with tear gas and water cannon.
An AFP journalist reported seeing police officers beating protesters with batons before firing on the crowd with tear gas, even as some scamper for safety in the ensuing melee.
The Dewa Mavhinga of Human Rights Watch, a human rights group has raised eyebrows, alleging repression of people's fundamental rights.
It would be recalled that in April, some 3,000 opposition supporters marched in the capital over the failing economy while other protests sprang up in other locations.
This week, exiled pastor Evan Mawarire responsible for starting #Thisflag protest movement has taken the protest to New York City where President Mugabe is expected to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
“As Mugabe comes here to attend the United Nations, we will be waiting for him. Let’s refuse corruption, let’s refuse injustice, let’s refuse poverty in our Nation of Zimbabwe,” Mawarire said in a video he uploaded on Twitter.
In the wake of the protests, Mugabe has enjoined protesters to stay clear of acts capable of breaching the law, adding that protests “don't pay”.
He recently warned protesters that there would be no Zimbabwe uprising similar to the “Arab spring”.
Many believed the protests might not end soon unless the President stems the tide of the economic hardships facing the country. As the battle line between the government and oppositions becomes more glaring, only time will tell whether or not the demonstrations will end soon.
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