Staff Reporter – The Zimbabwe Daily

Harare, Zimbabwe – Various stakeholders both in the political and civil realm have depicted mixed feelings towards the much anticipated July 31st nationwide protests.

The end of month protests have not yet been given the green light by the police but preparations are already at an advanced stage. The protests which are embodied under the Poverty Liberation Movement (PLM) are expected to yield in the resignation of the country’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa and the removal of the ruling ZANU-PF political party.

However, Linda Masarira of the opposition LEAD political party is urging citizens not to embark on the PLM wagon come July 31st.

“Our stance on the 31 July protests as a party is that we are guided by the LEAD ideology and as such we believe in doing things that yield positive results and transform livelihoods. The nation is facing increasing Coronavirus cases and it is not wise for the people to take to the streets in protest.

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It is one thing taking people into the streets, exposing people to COVID-19 and possibly arrests without achieving the main agenda of making transformative impact in regard to dealing with the corruption issue.

However, demonstrating is a Constitutional right enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. It is unfortunate that the past demonstrations that have happened in Zimbabwe were bloody, violent and characterized with looting, destruction of property and police brutality. Considering the political volatility in Zimbabwe, it is not a wise idea to get people in the streets as different disgruntled political camps might use the very noble idea of protesting against corruption to achieve their own personal hidden agenda to try and settle political scores nevertheless, I am not endorsing the marching on the streets,” said Masarira.

Moreso, ZimFirst leader, Dr. Maxwell Shumba Rusike said citizens should not just be roped into demonstrations that don’t have a clear endgame.

“What is the endgame of the planned demonstration?  What are the practical deliverables of the said demonstration?  Empirical evidence has shown that demonstrations in Zimbabwe have been used by some civic society and dubious political characters to nudge fatigued donors towards parting with a few US$s.

ZimFirst is unapologetically against using citizens and their plight to line pockets of a few enterprising political charlatans and villains without any meaningful and material political change. The collateral damage associated with these ill thought out political adventurism gimmicks is just astronomical most of the time.

Citizens were roped in the 2017 protests to push old Mugabe out without a clear picture of the endgame. People were used to sanitise a coup that has landed us in this situation where the military captured hapless and hopeless Mnangagwa has now resorted to shameless looting as his sole function in state affairs.

I call upon all progressive forces to be clear on what is to be achieved,  how it is to be achieved and work out practical modalities on confronting ZANU-PF before exposing citizens to state brutality and hazards of Covid 19. Citizens should not just be asked to demonstrate for the sake of demonstrating but to achieve clear goals. What are their goals?  That is where we stand and can do no other,” said the ZimFirst leader.

However Japhet Moyo, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said the ability to demonstrate was enshrined in the country’s Constitution.

“Section 57 and 58 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe are very explicit on the rights of citizens. The Constitution is supreme law and we should observe it.

All Zimbabweans including those in the essential service have every right to demonstrate and petition,” said Moyo.