HARARE – Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition MDC has sledged people who willingly marched through Zimbabwe’s capital Harare last week in support of President Robert Mugabe, saying they were kissing the shoes of a failed leadership.
Pro-Zanu PF backers and social activists staged demonstrations as the opposition MDC also ratcheted up mass protests against the Mugabe administration.
The leftist leader is facing a wave of discontent over a stalling economy, unpopular budget cuts and a corruption scandal over diamonds that has seen $15 billion stolen.
The escalating protests could deepen a political crisis that has given rise to calls for Mugabe’s impeachment for not stopping a multi-billion-dollar graft racket.
Impressed by thousands of Zimbabweans who demonstrated in support of the embattled nonagenarian, Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba has been waxing lyrical, saying “with such a massive parade, Zanu PF is making its sure win in 2018 only a matter of course and time.”
Obert Gutu, the MDC spokesperson, said Charamba seems to be living on his own little bubble, divorced from the rest of the suffering Zimbabwean community.
“A thousand people gathered to kiss the shoes of a failed leadership. Some were hijacked, detained if not coerced to stay. Some came hoping to feed. Some simply came for free entertainment by Oliver Mtukudzi. And the ‘million’ was miraculously reached,” Gutu said sarcastically, scoffing at Zanu PF’s failure to mobilise a million people.
But Charamba said a million people was “figurative”.
Gutu said Charamba was deliberately avoiding talking about the extortion of school heads to surrender private school buses to rent crowds.
“What sane party does that? And you should be embarrassed. You get buses by ginya (force) and after the event you dump the rented crowds and make an extra buck by ferrying cash-paying passengers. How cheap?” Gutu said.
“And after the heaped praises on Mugabe, I will ask, is the economy doing well now? Why are four million children of Zimbabwe living abroad?
Added Gutu: “Please stop the senseless propaganda. You and your party have caused endless misery to the people . . . Mugabe could do better by stopping corruption or cutting back on expensive and senseless foreign trips. He wants to be the leader of Africa but cannot address the issues faced by small Zimbabwe. What a travesty!”