By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
Harare, April 14, 2016 – AN estimated 5 000 people led by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai Thursday staged a massive demonstration against President Robert Mugabe’s misrule and the plunder of $15 billion worth of diamond revenue in 6 years by cartels linked to the veteran leader’s regime.
Addressing the protestors, the former Prime Minister urged President Mugabe to retire insisting the 92 year-old leader has failed to provide solutions to the country’s worsening economic crisis.
The march started at the ‘Freedom Square’ in Harare’s Rotten Row area up to Africa Unity Square where Tsvangirai addressed the crowd.
Protesters waved placards that were inscribed with various messages denouncing Mugabe.
“Old clueless Mugabe Must Go”, “Where is our 2, 2 million jobs?”, “We Want our $15 billion” were some of the messages.
“What you have done is a statement to the people of Zimbabwe that never again should we entrust our freedom to any particular individual; never again should we allow our rights to be given to us; we are going to demand and claim our rights,” Tsvangirai said to cheering fans.
“This is our unalienable right as the constitution bestows us that right.
“We are here to tell Mugabe and his regime that you have failed to provide leadership to the national crisis.”
The largely MDC-T crowd which was decked in the main opposition’s traditional red colours was joined by MDC top politicians and legislators.
MDC-T allies in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe National Students Union also joined the protest march.
In his brief address, Tsvangirai said poverty was widespread and that the 2 million jobs promised by Zanu PF during the 2013 election campaign were a fallacy.
“Mugabe has no solution to the crisis because he is too tired,” said the firebrand opposition leader.
“Our demand is that mudhara yakwana nguva yekuti muchinozorora (old man, the time is up for you to go and rest) with dignity,” he said to cheering supporters.
“We are not demanding an overthrow of the government. We are demanding a dignified exit for a tired Mugabe…we are demanding that Mugabe please go and have an early retirement and dignified exit.
“We are saying as a statement that its time Mugabe listened to the Voice of the people and that the people shall rule.”
Tsvangirai said similar demonstrations will be rolled out to the country’s provinces, something he said shall culminate in another party organised demonstration that he said shall see the Thursday numbers trebled.
He said it was ironical that the country will on Monday mark 36 years of independence when opposition rallies were still being blocked by the police.
Pride Mkono, a political activist who witnessed the march, echoed the former prime minister’s sentiments that the government should observe the rule of law.
“The state must own up; we can’t have a society where people wantonly defy all forms of authority,” said Mukono.
Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said the MDC-T leader’s march shows that he is re-igniting what his party stands for.
“Tsvangirai is going back to his roots and this is what defines the MDC-the struggle of the poor, the struggle of the unemployed, struggle of the marginalised and this is what makes Tsvangirai, not press statement or social media,” he said.
Tsvangirai said it was ironical that the country would next Monday commemorate 36 years of independence when opposition rallies were still being blocked by the police.
The march comes after the MDC-T secured an 11th hour court ruling interdicting the police from interfering with Thursday’s rally.
Tsvangirai thanked dozens of baton wielding police officers who monitored the rally from a distance for not beating up his supporters.