Firebrand pro-Matabeleland opposition, Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has vowed to go ahead with planned protests in Bulawayo Sunday over alleged inequalities that have not gone in the region’s favour.
This is despite police refusing to sanction the march which was intended to coincide with the occasion of the country’s Independence Day celebrations.
The militant opposition early this week notified police of its intention to demonstrate over a slew of issues, among them, the continued incarceration of some nine party activists.
The group has been languishing at Khami Remand Prison for more than a month following its arrest for public violence. They have been denied bail on every turn.
Said the party in a statement Saturday, “The people’s revolutionary party, MRP has this morning received a response from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, notifying us that they are not recommending the Commemoration March to go ahead.
“In response, we have as a party resolved that the commemoration should go ahead according to plan.
“It should be clear that police did not ban the march, but only suggested that it is not recommended.
“We acknowledge and appreciate their response and, if by saying that they don’t recommend the march, they imply that they are banning it, then what they intend to do is illegal.”
The party urged activists and sympathisers to converge at the Bulawayo City Hall car park where the demonstrations are planned to start.
“We urge all Mthwakazi people to converge at their capital Bulawayo, at the City Hall car park tomorrow at 09:30 and be ready to take to the streets. Wear party regalia and masks.
“Our traditional regalia is also most welcome, and your participation will go a long way in demonstrating our disgruntlement over the prevailing conditions of life that we are subjected to by Zimbabwe.
“It is against this background that their (police) not recommending the march is defied. The law requires that police be notified of the intention, which is what we have done. We now officially invite them to participate with us, said the party.”
The party argued that sections 58 to 61of the country’s Constitution allows it to demonstrate.
“It is on the basis of this knowledge that a conclusion that the Commemoration march should go ahead is drawn.
“We are for peace and justice in our lifetime and as such, will continue to fight for justice.
“As a party we are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that our people are being persecuted on tribally motivated political reasons.
“We have no doubt that the MRP 9 who were arrested more than a month ago are innocent and, therefore, do not deserve to be incarcerated,” added the party.