By Dumisani Nyoni
Bulawayo, August 30, 2016 – OPPOSITION parties under the banner of National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) on Tuesday vowed they were going to hold a massive demonstration in Bulawayo on Friday to demand electoral reforms from the Zanu PF led government.
Speaking at a press briefing under their umbrella association in Bulawayo on Tuesday, the leaders said they were demanding electoral reforms in Zimbabwe ahead of the elections in 2018.
“The demonstration is going to take place on Friday from 10am,” said Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) provincial co-ordinator Esnath Bulayani who delivered the statement on behalf of the group.
Responding to questions from journalists, ZAPU regional coordinator, Mark Mbayiwa said police had not yet responded to a notice the parties had sent advising them about their intentions to march.
“Application has been made and we hope by the end of day today (Tuesday), we will be having the reply. However, the law says we must notify the police; hence we have just done that. We are not seeking permission from them,” he said.
The press conference was attended by MDC-T, ZimPF and ZAPU officials.
Another march has also been planned for Harare by the same opposition parties.
The country has seen a wave of recent protests against the government of President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980.
Eighteen opposition parties under NERA have announced plans to roll out mass anti-government demonstrations to other provinces on Friday, as pressure mounts on President Mugabe’s government to give in to opposition and civic demands for electoral reforms.
This comes after co-ordinators of the #Tajamuka/Sesijikile campaign on Monday vowed to forge ahead with their planned national shutdown on Tuesday, despite threats by Zanu PF youths and State security agents to deal with those agitating for the work boycott.
Hardlife Mudzingwa, one of the pressure group’s leaders, told journalists in the capital that Wednesday’s shutdown was part of their sustained campaign to force Mugabe to relinquish power over his failure to solve political and socio-economic crises besetting the country.
#ThisFlower campaign leader Stern Zvorwadza also said they will continue piling pressure on the Zanu PF government.