MDC youths used the national soccer team’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) match against Botswana to protest against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
With police banning opposition protests and rallies, the youths waved Red card ED out and ED is a dictator and Chamisa for president placards at the National Sports Stadium on Friday.
Youth leader, Obey Sithole said the party will continue to look for ways to democratically and freely express their displeasure at the ruling Zanu PF regime.
“As the youths supported the Warriors, they took the opportunity to express their displeasure against Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF’s failures. They have been prohibiting marches, but surely they can’t prohibit soccer matches,” he said.
The youths said the sporadic protests were meant to galvanise the nation around a massive demonstration on what the MDC has said is a national crisis anchored on Mnangagwa’s illegitimacy.
MDC deputy organising secretary Happymore Chidziva said the party was mobilising its structures to confront Mnangagwa and his government, including taking over public spaces to demonstrate their displeasure.
“We know that Mnangagwa was not elected by the people; he is illegitimate. The party is mobilising and readying its people to occupy democratic spaces to ensure that the voice of the people is heard. We will prevail even under the abuse of the gun, police brutality and oppression; our voices will be heard,” he said.
Zanu PF deputy youth secretary Lewis Matutu was quick to dismiss the protests by the MDC as an attempt to cover for glaring inability to mobilise and hijacking soccer matches.
“It’s an unfortunate thing because every Zimbabwean had the responsibility to support our Warriors during the Afcon match. I would want to assume that the only reason why the so-called demonstration was meant to take advantage of people coming to the soccer match since MDC no longer has the capacity to mobilise people anymore,” Matutu said.
“Our challenges as a country are not about an individual or any organisation, it’s about the mentality of the people and our lack of productivity as a nation. Every Zimbabwean has the responsibility to progressively contribute to the economic development of our country. President Mnangagwa is restlessly working for the country, he needs everyone’s support for the good of our country. Demonstrations will never produce economic results.”
Information permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana said government will not lose sleep over a handful of protesters trying to gain relevance by hijacking platforms that have nothing to do with them.
“Government is not worried by a few choreographed placards being brandished in the stadium. We are in Harare, an opposition stronghold where their supporters try to hijack anything to gain relevance. We have seen them trying to hijack and contaminate the civil servants. As a government, we are not in the habit of being bothered when owls sing their disharmony at night,” he said.