Zimbabwe: Chaos in Planned Demos Camp

Amid intense bickering in the opposition over sharing of donor funds, method and nature of the planned July 31 protests, wheels are now coming off as parties start to distance themselves from the subversive plot to remove a constitutionally-elected Government.

Differences on the theme for the demonstration, which flagrantly disregard the threat posed by the novel Covid-19 pandemic and laid down rules for its containment, have seen some parties publicly and privately questioning the motive behind the protests.

Apart from obviously putting lives at risk, as the cases of the global pestilence continue to spike in Zimbabwe, planners of the demonstrations are now quarrelling on the distribution and sharing of donor funds and the worthiness of risking people’s lives.

The secret nature of the planned demonstration being spearheaded by Transform Zimbabwe leader Mr Jacob Ngarivhume has resulted in some political parties such as the MDC led by Dr Thokozani Khupe and the Zimbabwe People Party (ZPP) distancing themselves from the planned protests.

MDC national chairperson Morgen Komichi questioned the rationale of the protests at a time when the country is grappling with a global pandemic and its devastating impact on lives and livelihoods.

“I don’t know the rationale of this, but this does not smell good. Why put people’s lives at risk for money, why the protests now? As the MDC we will not be part to the charade,” said Mr Komichi.

In a letter to its members, the ZPP said it will not be part to the planned demonstrations because Mr Ngarivhume did not inform other opposition parties of the safety measures that will be taken to protect the marchers and that he has not sought clearance from the police as is required under the country’s laws.

“The ZPP guidelines values the safety of members and Zimbabweans at large and in the absence of Covid-19 safety precautions and guidelines from Mr Ngarivhume, it is hence very difficult for ZPP members to take part because their safety is not guaranteed.

“Mr Ngarivhume has also not shown us police approval for the demonstration and issues of police escort for the demonstration,” read the statement in part.

Pointing to incidents of violence synonymous with past opposition protests, ZPP said it will not partake in protests that did not fall within the ambit of the law.

Despite the Government opening doors for conflict resolution and has been lauded world over for fighting corruption in all levels of society, Ngarivhume and his partners, who include the strife-torn MDC-Alliance and some churches, insist that their march is against corruption.

However, last week the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana exposed the planned protests as nothing, but an attempt to subvert a constitutionally-elected Government.

As such, he said the relevant arms of Government will step in to defend the people’s vote as expressed in the 2018 polls.

In its statement, the ZPP said on its life part demonstrations are only a measure of last resort and therefore it will not be stampeded into backing subversive plots of some power hungry parties

“The ZPP policies and guidelines put demonstrations as a last resort measure which is undertaken after all efforts have been exhausted. We have not seen any efforts to correct the current situation in Zimbabwe from Mr Ngarivhume, and as a result ZPP members cannot take part in the demonstrations. We believe in exhausting peaceful means first before engaging in violent methods. All demonstrations in Zimbabwe ended in ugly violent scenes due to poor planning by the organisers,” read the statement.

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