HARARE – Despite the fact that their leader is indisposed, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC says its demonstration against President Robert Mugabe’s “failed” leadership will go ahead in the second largest city of Bulawayo.
With Tsvangirai ill, doubts have been raised over the pulling power of his lieutenants who will lead the demonstration in his absence.
However, speaking to the Daily News yesterday, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said that nothing was going to stop the protest, which will be led by the party’s vice president Thokozani Khupe.
“The MDC-Bulawayo demonstration will definitely proceed on May 28 (today).
“As a party, we are very pleased to note that our leader, President . . . Tsvangirai is recovering extremely well and that very soon, he will be back in the cockpit, leading us from the front as usual.
“The MDC leadership is on the ground, mobilising and preparing for the Bulawayo ‘mother of all demonstrations’.
“We are on a roll. We are more than ready for this historic march in the City of Kings and Queens,” a confident Gutu said.
The Bulawayo demonstration, a follow-up to the Tsvangirai-led march in Harare, was initially banned by the police and only received the green light after the High Court ruled in the opposition party favour.
Apparently, sick and tired of the economic malaise and Zanu PF’s inability to tackle the meltdown — the MDC has lined up a series of peaceful demonstrations that it hopes will force Mugabe and his party to act and call for elections.
And nowhere is the collapse of the country’s industries more apparent than Bulawayo, the once industrial hub of Zimbabwe, where the smoke from industries has disappeared and thousands have migrated to South Africa seeking greener pastures.
Thus the MDC, which has a firm grip of Bulawayo, is buoyant that the march in Bulawayo will surpass the earlier procession in Harare that was graced by Tsvangirai.
“The Bulawayo demonstration is going to be bigger than Harare there is no doubt about that . . . judging from the way they (their team in Bulawayo) are carrying out their mobilisation across all the constituencies, we are looking at not less than 20 000 people.”
“After Bulawayo, we are going to move to other provinces. We don’t have actual dates for now but the demonstrations will move to other cities and towns like Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare, Kwekwe and we are going to move down to the districts, Gokwe, Gutu, Murombedzi and others. We want to reach every district in Zimbabwe.
“People should know that when you are planning successful demonstrations, it’s not only about time, there are logistical issues, you need to liaise with the law enforcement agents, you can’t walk up and tell them that tomorrow we are going to have a demonstration, you have to plan.”
The MDC is protesting against a number of issues, including Zanu PF’s failure to fulfil its promise to create 2,2 million jobs as espoused in the ruling party’s 2013 election manifesto, as well as demand answers following Mugabe’s recent claim that $15 billion had been stolen from the Chiadzwa diamond mining fields.