By Johannes Chin’ombe
Masvingo, August 25, 2016 – THE anti-Mugabe sentiment currently sweeping across the country’s cities has reached Gutu and Zaka districts in Masvingo with protests being led by the #Zimbabwe Yadzoka/ Mayibuye iZimbabwe pressure group.
#Zimbabwe Yadzoka is part of the #Tajamuka/Sesijikile group that has given President Robert Mugabe’s government sleepless nights over the past weeks through relentless demands for him to step down over failed leadership.
Confirming the development to RadioVOP, #Zimbabwe Yadzoka/ Mayibuye iZimbabwe coordinator Victor Chimhutu said the initiative was aimed at demystifying the myth that sees it taboo to challenge the Zanu PF government.
He also said that the group holds night vigils (pungwes) in areas it operates after realising the old concept was still effective rural areas.
“#Zimbabwe Yadzoka/ Mayibuye iZimbabwe has managed to set structures in Masvingo’s rural communities of Gutu and Zaka. People have oflate been scared to attend our meetings because of the fear that had been instilled in them through violence by the ruling party though we have managed to receive overwhelming support from other communities. People are however not afraid to speak out and motivating us on the work we have just started in rural communities.
“Our meetings are held at night. We do pungwes. We decided to hold these on the realisation that they have a special place in our liberation and the freedom of the people. It conjures nostalgia. The vigils are also full of song and dance. You can tell people are ready for their freedom,” Chimhutu said.
Chimhutu said #Zimbabwe Yadzoka/ Mayibuye iZimbabwe was not partisan, adding that the group has been able to communicate its messages to rural audiences via fliers, graffiti and messages on t-shirts which are given in local languages.
“To make sure our message is sent across rural boundaries, we use branded t-shirts, graffiti and fliers with messages calling for Mugabe to step down. These messages are also given in local Zimbabwean languages for better understanding.
“#Zimbabwe Yadzoka/ Mayibuye iZimbabwe is not partisan but simply calls for the rural folk to fight for their God given rights as given by the Zimbabwean constitution. We don’t attack Zanu PF membership but we ask Mugabe to respectfully leave office,” Chimhutu said.
The newly founded pressure group coordinator also urged fellow activists to stand their ground amid police attacks being unleashed on them.
“I have always been an activist and arrested also a couple of times. Activism is a field we know is dangerous but it has to be done for our people to be free. For example, when we launch, we went to areas like Uzumba, Macheke, Murehwa and I think you know this is a lion’s den but #ZimbabweYadzoka/Mayibuye iZimbabwe is going in head first!
“We believe we have missed so many opportunities because our people in the rural areas have been afraid for too long. So generally, activists should not be moved by police moves on attacking them and remain steadfast in pressuring Mugabe to leave office. As a pressure group, we are however against police unleashing violence against peaceful protesters,” he added.
National Vendors Association of Zimbabwe leader, Stern Zvorwadza also said involving the rural folk in the peaceful protests was a step towards regaining political freedoms.
“The stunt taken by the rural communities is a good lesson since they were the only ones left in expressing their disgruntlement over a failing government. As pressure groups, we are therefore calling for unity among protestors. Events that happen here must be mirrored by events that take charge in Masvingo.
“We currently launched #This Flower campaign where we offer flowers as a token of peace to the police and army officials. This is a simple move to show that we are not up for war as we believe that violence is counterproductive. So I am generally saying nothing stops Masvingo and those in rural areas from handing over flowers to the friends in the security sector,” Zvorwadza said.