By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, August 25, 2016 – EXILED Zimbabwean pastor and activist Evan Mawarire has urged Zimbabweans to throng the planned anti-government protest march organised by over a dozen local opposition parties in Harare on Friday.
Zimbabwe braces for the so-christened mega demo that will bring together the country’s major political parties and fringe parties for the historic event.
Police have issued directives for the march not to go ahead citing security reasons.
But the 13 parties operating under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) have insisted they were converging in Harare Friday morning for the march.
Speaking through social media platforms from his current base in America, the #ThisFlag campaigner pleaded with his followers to attend a march that will also bring together former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition MDC-T and former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who now leads the Zimbabwe People First.
“Citizens movements we are getting on; don’t let anyone fool you that we are going nowhere or that we have stopped doing what we are doing and it’s working,” Mawarire said.
“On Friday on the 26th in Zimbabwe, all parties are getting to get a change in the electoral change for all parties, to fix the electoral laws around elections,” said the cleric.
He continued: “On 26 August on Friday 8am, behind Rainbow Towers, NERA is holding its march; don’t be left behind. Go there. Don’t be left out handei ikoko (lets all go there). Where ever you are musasarire (don’t be left out).”
The Baptist church pastor skipped the country last month after the state tried to press treason charges against him for allegedly inciting violence against the current Zanu PF led government.
This was after he had used social media to urge fellow citizens to boycott work in protest over police brutality and the country’s deteriorating economic situation.
Meanwhile, #Tajamuka/Sesijikile, another prominent activist group has also voiced support for Friday’s march.
“Tajamuka supports the NERA peaceful demonstration on Friday the 26th of August 2016. We will march with the political parties in pursuit of free and fair elections. It is common cause that Zimbabwe’s challenges hinge on the legitimacy crisis that has engulfed the country over the last decade and which illegitimacy derives from disputed elections,” said the youthful group in a statement Friday.
The activist group also condemned the continued brutalisation of protesters by police.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the continued provocation of peaceful protests by the state. Today’s peaceful march by the MDCT was brutally disrupted by the police. In addition, suspected Zanu PF youths went around the city destroying property, looting shops in a desperate but foiled bid to criminalise lawful and legitimate protests,” he said.
Another group only identified as Citizens Unite Zimbabwe said that they had also endorsed the march.
“We as Citizen United Zimbabwe, applaud your efforts as NERA Zimbabwe, and all efforts to bring about electoral reforms to our country. We are convinced that a level playing field will enable the voice of the citizens, to be heard by all democratic bodies in our country,” said the leader who identified himself as Mukushwa.
“We applaud NERA Zimbabwe’s fearless commitment to this cause. We applaud those leaders who have agreed to come to this event. We further urge these leaders to be with this process, until the program of the day is complete and all participants have been dismissed.”