Zvamaida Murwira in New York, United States
A planned demonstration by the MDC-Allaince and other pro-opposition civic organisations flopped dismally here on Saturday, as the resurfacing of Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association acting president Dr Peter Magombeyi, whom the opposition presumed was abducted, derailed the planned action.
Several MDC activists had lined up demonstrations at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to protest against the alleged abduction of Dr Magombeyi, who eventually resurfaced in Nyabira, Mashonaland West Province, last Thursday.
President Mnangagwa is one of the world leaders attending the 74th UN General Assembly and the planned demonstration by the activists was meant to humiliate him by portraying him as someone who leads a country that does not observe human rights.
The resurfacing of Dr Magombeyi left many pro-opposition activists with egg on their faces as it derailed their demonstration and they were left to ponder their next move given that some of them had travelled from as far as Canada, Chicago and Boston, among other areas.
Only a handful of people turned up after most of them withdrew upon realising that the objective of the intended demonstration had been rendered futile after Dr Magombeyi was eventually “found.”
Instead, it was an anti-sanctions march organised by Friends of Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF supporters and United States-based pan-African group December 12 Movement that stole the limelight.
The group, donning gold T-shirts with an anti-sanctions message, the Zimbabwean flag and waving placards denouncing sanctions, started their march at the UN Zimbabwe Mission before they went to the UN Headquarters. The MDC activists had to retreat after realising that they had been outnumbered and overshadowed by the anti-sanctions demonstration.
Some of the placards read “War Against Zimbabwean People”, “Lift Trump Sanctions off Zimbabwe”, “Lift US Sanctions Off Zimbabwe”, and “Zimbabwe will Never be a Colony Again”. The December 12 Movement said they will never give up the fight against sanctions for Zimbabwe and vowed not to relent until the illegal embargo had been lifted.
The planned demonstration at the UN Headquarters by the MDC was meant to have Zimbabwe placed on the UN General Assembly agenda.
Observers have also noted that the planned protests at the UN Headquarters were meant to justify the illegal sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union on Harare.
President Mnangagwa has since warned against the frequency of false abductions and said Government was crafting measures to deal with the threat and punish those responsible. He said this last Friday in Harare, in his address to the nation just before his departure for New York.
Dr Magombeyi’s alleged disappearance resulted in health personnel downing tools, demanding his release, while questions were raised in many quarters on the authenticity of the said abduction.
President Mnangagwa said Government was disappointed by the health workers’ decision to strike following the alleged abduction, saying this resulted in unnecessary loss of lives.