BY BLESSED MHLANGA/ Harriet Chikandiwa
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday vowed that his party would defy bans against its demonstrations against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to force political and economic reforms.
Chamisa told MDC supporters at the party’s 20th anniversary celebrations at Rufaro Stadium in Harare that the demonstrations would involve Zimbabweans from diverse backgrounds.
“What we are saying is, wait and see. We will not have our demonstrations banned,” he said.
“All progressive forces must converge, so we want teachers, students, workers, churches and political parties to come together and have a free Zimbabwe campaign.”
Zimbabwe is facing critical power, fuel and water shortages, and a sharp rise in the cost of living, which is not matched by disposable income.
“If we call for a demo, will you come? “We want to plan in such a way that we will not go home,” he said.
“We want to do a sustainable demo until we achieve what we want. December is too far,” he said.
In August, police banned MDC protests that were planned for major cities claiming they had gathered intelligence the demonstrations would turn violent.
Police were heavily deployed in Harare yesterday ahead of the MDC event. Chamisa said he was also nudging African leaders to intervene in Zimbabwe.
“We have been having dialogue with African and Sadc leaders,” he said.
“We are not going to go to other countries outside the continent, that’s why you see we have been having dialogue with (South African President) Cyril Ramaphosa and (former Nigerian leader Olusegun) Obasanjo because we believe African solidarity is more important even though they might not understand it now.”
The MDC wants to push Mnangagwa for dialogue, which will among other things result in a transitional government that will implement key political, economic and electoral reforms.
Chamisa said his dispute with Mnangagwa stemmed from the 2018 elections whose results he rejected.
“We will not have the 2023 elections without resolving 2018,” he said. “If we do, we will repeat the same cycle of disputed elections.”