Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s opponents have called for renewed protest action after the ban on demonstrations imposed last month expired.
Last month a top police officer Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama re-imposed a ban on protests in central Harare, less than a week after a High Court judge declared it unconstitutional.
Police said at the time that the ban would run for a month from September 16 to October 15.
Activist and author Patson Dzamara told News24 on Thursday that he hoped that his fellow countrymen would “begin from where they left off before the ban”.
Dzamara called upon all Zimbabweans to firmly stand together in their numbers to demand change.
“It’s time to stand in solidarity in numbers. We may not get another chance again, at least not sooner. We have the perfect ingredients for victory. In fact, we have made it a long way since a few months ago, or even a year ago when my brother took a risk and it materialised.
In a big way, we have all made huge sacrifices as Zimbabweans. Getting out of our shells to openly speak and contribute to national discourse is among the greatest achievements in 36 years,” said Dzamara.
Anger and passion
The Zimbabwean activist and author further challenged fellow Zimbabweans to march on the streets despite the government’s brutal force.
He said that it was about time that all Zimbabweans started to display the anger they have shown on social media on the streets.
“Only organised social action on the ground yields results. Concerted efforts on the ground, as voters, as citizens. Earlier yesterday [Wednesday], I was arrested. Not because I spoke on Facebook, but because I stood and protested at parliament.
My arrest is no bigger in the grand scheme of things, but my point is that I shouldn’t be standing there alone. How about 1 000, 10 000, 100 000 and even a million of us get to transmute our anger and passion into action? Yes that anger we generously and passionately display on social media,” Dzamara said.
Zimbabwe has, in recent months, been hit by a wave of protests, as Zimbabweans demanded that the government act on the ongoing economic hardships, as well as rapid corruption.
However, Mugabe’s government has often responded by implementing tougher measures aimed at curbing what it described as “foreign sponsored protests”.
Dzamara, however, said that it was imperative that protesters explained to the police the country’s constitution regarding their protest action.
Biggest protest action
“Look here, Mugabe has entrenched his misrule through the help and abuse of the security apparatus. One of the ways through which we will gain victory is demystifying them. Once we demystify the security apparatus it becomes easy for the rule of law to be upheld in Zimbabwe.
We must know the dictates of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and we must force them to respect the Constitution. Their job is to enforce the law not the whims and fancies of Zanu-PF,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to NewsDay, Zimbabwean opposition parties have also called for renewed protests throughout the country.
The Movement for Democratic Change, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, said that it was planning the biggest protest action to force president Mugabe out of office.
“Demonstrations will continue unabated throughout the length and breadth of the country. There is neither retreat nor surrender. The Zanu-PF regime is collapsing and I can bet my bottom bond coin that the regime will be history even before 2018,” MDC Spokesperson Obert Gutu was quoted saying.
Mugabe has been in power since the country’s independence in 1980.