HARARE – As Zanu PF’s much-hyped million-man march gets underway today, long-suffering Zimbabweans say the demonstrating party members would best use the opportunity by telling President Robert Mugabe to step down, rather than massage the increasingly frail nonagenarian’s ego.
The controversial demonstration, a brainchild of the former liberation movement’s youth league aligned to the party’s Generation 40 (G40) faction, has now been grudgingly embraced by embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s supporters after Mugabe was recently reported to have arm-twisted war veterans to support it.
Even then, well-placed Zanu PF sources told the Daily News yesterday that there was “a lingering fear that the whole charade” could still disintegrate into unmitigated chaos and violence depending on what happens during the day.
A Harare airtime vendor who gave his first name as Ernerst said many people within his social circle did not understand why anyone needed to toyi-toyi for Mugabe.
“We are all suffering my brother and nothing is working in this country. From where we are sitting, this is nothing more than a useless and factional Zanu PF game where party interests groups are only working to outwit each other,” the despondent university graduate said.
Another vendor said the march was “a tactic” to divert the nation’s attention away from Zanu PF’s poor governance record and its abject failure to honour all of its 2013 election promises.
“The money being blown on this demo should have been directed towards empowering us the youth and making sure that hospitals, for example, are working properly,” the fruit seller, who used to be a bank teller eight years ago, said.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu also said if anything useful was to come out of the march, participants needed to use it to fight the dictatorship running the country.
“In the land of plenty, only a few thousand people, mainly members of the ruling Zanu PF elite, are enjoying the fruits of our hard-won independence. The MDC unreservedly and strenuously condemn the proposed Zanu PF so-called million-man march.
“If anything, whoever is going to march on May 25 should be marching against poverty, joblessness, hunger, destitution and corruption.
“It is these ills that have been the hallmark of … Mugabe’s unparalleled mismanagement of the national economy over the past few decades. Instead of massaging the personal ego of the man who has caused the pauperisation of millions of Zimbabweans by staging a totally puerile, purposeless and wasteful so-called million-man march, the Zanu PF regime or whichever of its factions is organising and funding this thoroughly discredited march should actually be staging a march to publicly apologise to Zimbabweans for ruining and destroying a country that used to be the bread basket of southern Africa,” Gutu said.
“They should also be staging a march to call upon … Mugabe and his clueless and corrupt regime to immediately step down from office in order to save the people of Zimbabwe from further suffering,” he added.
He said the country’s myriad crises were a result of Mugabe’s misrule, which had “trashed” the hopes of millions of Zimbabweans.
“Thanks to more than three decades of the Zanu PF dictatorship, Zimbabwe has virtually collapsed into a failed State in which more than 85 percent of the population live in abject poverty and destitution.
“The MDC would like to call upon Zimbabweans to resolutely refuse to be abused and enslaved by the collapsing Zanu PF regime.
“The people of Zimbabwe deserve to be governed by a legitimate, responsible, accountable and transparent government that will assume political power through free, fair and credible elections,” Gutu said.