Some of the crowd enjoy their meals at the National Sports Stadium yesterday

BY Everson Mushava/Tapiwa Zivira

OUTSIDE the monumental National Sports Stadium, the gravity of the chaos was clearly visible as it turned out that the commotion was not about people jostling to get into the stadium, but rather to get a box of two pieces of chicken, chips and a drink.

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In the end, their motivation — spurred on by hunger — was to get more food, so they remained outside in the winding queue, which invited the intervention of police officers.

Even well after the presidential motorcade had driven into the stadium with the usual display of opulence, people chose to stay outside and queue for the food instead, paying no regard to the proceedings inside the stadium.

Then an announcement was made, that the serving of food be suspended so that people would get into the stadium to follow proceedings.

But the majority remained outside, like vultures waiting for the moment food hand-outs would resume, leading to running battles with police on horse back.

The proceedings inside the stadium did not seem to matter.

“This is a great day, I last ate Chicken Slice many years ago because of the cost, but today, because the President has called us to march against sanctions, we are eating the meat. Everything is good now,” one elderly woman said.

She was brandishing her Chicken Slice box full of potato chips with her left hand, while the right clasped a Pepsi drink, an American product, the country targeted by the anti-sanctions march.

While the woman was glad to finally eat fried chicken from a fast-food outlet, Mnangagwa and his team made a grand entrance into the stadium in the latest luxury vehicles.

Inside the giant stadium that the anti-sanctions march failed to fill, even Mnangagwa’s Kutonga Kwaro routine dance failed to rouse the crowd.

Far from the proceedings, in most parts of Harare, it appeared like any other holiday, with people going about their business.

And the march was, of course, a subject of discussion among many who either professed ignorance or contempt for the whole thing.

In fact, many, including those who took part, did not seem to understand what sanctions are and how they were impacting their lives.

“Sanctions are about fuel, they sell to us at very high prices because we are under sanctions. When the fuel comes, they make us sell it in bond notes whose value they are destroying,” Munyaradzi Chitima, from Harare South, said.