MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s planned anti-government mass protests received a major boost on Sunday when his key allies – labour and residents’ associations – pledged to back him.
The demonsrations are meant to force the Zanu PF-led government to address the country’s economic woes.
Tsvangirai last week threatened to personally lead the demonstrations from the front to force the government to account for its election promises.
The labour-backed party, which rose to prominence in the late ’90s following a series of crippling mass protests organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), has already held two mass protests to force Zanu PF to fulfill its election campaign pledge to create 2,2 million jobs.
MDC-T’s key allies — ZCTU and the Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) — on Sunday said they supported Tsvangirai’s street protests plans.
“If you remember, we were the first to say that action was now needed because government has failed. What the MDC-T is saying now is exactly what the ZCTU was saying. Consultation is going on, but we were the first to call for action,” ZCTU president George Nkiwane said.
CHRA chairman Simbarashe Moyo said Zimbabwe was at cross-roads and now needed action to resolve the economic and political impasse of the day.
He said residents would join Tsvangirai in solidarity as they were the most affected by the economic catastrophe bedevilling the country and the newly-introduced raft of tax measures announced by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa.
“If we demand services that we don’t get, it is our right to demand the services by whatever means possible. We can and we will join the protests in solidarity with the MDC-T because something needs to be done now,” he said.
“Tax is being forced under our throats and we are almost choking. This needs us to be in solidarity with Tsvangirai. We will support
Contacted for comment, chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she would issue a statement on Tsvangirai’s strike threats today.
But Zanu PF has vowed that the country had enough resources and security personnel to deal with Tsvangirai and his MDC-T.
Tsvangirai made headlines during his days as ZCTU secretary-general, leading mass actions that gave the government a torrid time.
The ZCTU later joined forces with student movements, civic society and residents to form the MDC — the first ever opposition party to give Zanu PF a nightmare in 1999.
Currently, Zanu PF is failing to address the economic situation although the ruling party has insisted that the economy was on a rebound courtesy of its Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation programme, although critics have dismissed the blueprint policy as a paper tiger.
Meanwhile, Highfield East MP Eric Murayi was elected MDC-T Harare provincial chairperson with Kerina Gweshe in elections held on Saturday.
Southerton MP Gift Chimanikire and MDC-T national executive member Morgen Femai had earlier expressed interest to contest for the chairmanship but pulled out at the eleventh hour.
Peter Chikwati landed the provincial secretary’s post while Sabina Mudhara will deputise him. Others are Harare deputy mayor Thomas Muzuva (treasurer), Rhino Mashaya (organising secretary), Obert Gutu (spokesperson) and Rorina Bunjira (Women’s Assembly provincial chairperson).