BY MOSES MATENGA/RICHARD MUPONDE/NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE opposition MDC is ganging up with citizens, civic society, churches and labour to launch a spirited campaign to remove President Emmerson Mnangagwa from power through an initiative they say will be driven by Zimbabweans hard-pressed by the economic and political crisis in the country, it has emerged.
Impeccable sources said the campaign has gathered momentum and the MDC has dropped its dialogue calls with Zanu PF to end the economic and political logjam and were now going for a push led by citizens.
In separate briefings by the opposition, labour and civic society over the weekend, meetings have since been rolled out and the next action to happen will be coming from the people.
“You will not hear us talking about dialogue. That time is over and we now want to takeover,” a source close to the developments said.
“We are for the convergence platform, a citizen-based initiative with the MDC also part of that because they remain the biggest opposition political party in Zimbabwe and have the people.
“The initiative is by the people and it should belong to the citizens, the churches, labour and everyone. It’s about citizen issues. There are citizens in Zanu PF affected by the current situation, there are citizens everywhere affected by this and this kind of platform is needed.”
Another source said the platform would soon be rolled out and would include prayer sessions across the country, civil disobedience, peaceful protests in Mnangagwa’s presence and solid engagement with the international community.
“This is no longer an MDC struggle. It is now the people’s struggle. No one has not been affected by this dictatorship, the traditional leadership, journalists, comedians,” the source said.
MDC national chairperson Thabitha Khumalo yesterday said citizens in Zimbabwe and Africa had reached a point of saying “enough is enough”.
“If you look at the trend, citizens, global citizens or African citizens, have reached a stage where they have said to themselves if we don’t do anything we die, we do something we die,” she said.
“So they have taken it upon themselves to demand democracy from governments that are ruling them. So Sadc and the African Union sooner or later, the countries that are members of these institutions, their citizens will reach a stage where they will stand up and say no.
“It’s a matter of time, let’s give it time. Things are going to change and these regional and international statutory bodies where our governments are members will smell the coffee.
This time around, it will not be from individual opposition parties, but it will be from African citizens and their own citizens in their own countries.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo dismissed Khumalo as a dreamer who was unfit to lead the country.
“As a party, we believe in the rule of law, not lawlessness and anarchy. If that’s what she is encouraging, she can as well leave politics to those who mean well to the people of this country. We are not going to be led by a dreamer,” he said.
Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi said government would deal with “anarchists” and those working to destabilise the country through whatever means.
“A civic movement or a civic society demonstration must have roots in the whole population of Zimbabwe. If it is being originated or sponsored or promoted by certain power-hungry people who are calling themselves presidents when they are not presidents, who have unbridled ambitions without grassroot support, it remains a futile exercise, it remains a non-event, and it remains a nullity,” he said.
“We need to realise that government is not a child play. If anyone wants to take the law into their own hands, and engage in violent activities to disturb government, the law will take its course. Even if they are leaders of political parties or whatever, the law will be applied. My only advice is this is the last warning and we are working tirelessly to ensure government is not disturbed throughout its five-year mandate.”
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said they had not heard any plot to that effect and, therefore, could not comment.
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said Zimbabwe was crying out loud for change.
“It is back to the drawing board. That is why we are talking about a national dialogue and my position has always been about a national transitional authority,” he said.
“The current establishment has no capacity to turn things around. The last election was invalid and there is need for a return to constitutionality and political, electoral and economic reforms before the next elections.”
Mandaza said the proposed National Convergence Platform (NCP) would be launched on December 13 in Harare.
Zimbabwe Council of Churches programmes manager Tinashe Gumbo said they were consulting stakeholders in Chinhoyi, Marondera, Bindura and Harare ahead of the NCP signing ceremony.