Military strengthens grip with public support
The virtually outlawed Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was further isolated on Saturday when more than 10,000 people marched demanding his resignation in central district of Harare. This was a rare show of public defiance in the country’s history.
The march was supported by the army, which seized power on Wednesday. This was organised at Zimbabwe Ground, the same site where in 1980, around 200,000 people gathered to welcome Mugabe from exile after the liberation war from white rule.
According to Aljazeera, crowd supported General Constantino Chiwenga cheering: “Chiwenga, lead the war to remove Mugabe”.
Florence Mguni, a 59 year old who went to train in Mozambique as a liberation fighter at the age of 15, travelled overnight from Bulawayo in the hope of witnessing Mugabe’s departure. She said, “We went to fight in the war, I was taught how to hold a gun as a young girl, but today Zimbabwe is free and I am poor. I’m a widow and my children aren’t in school because I can’t always afford to pay their fees.”
The reports say that mobile networks were jammed as demonstrators raised banners with slogans such as: “Go, go, our general!”, “Enough is enough – Mugabe must go” and “Leadership is not sexually transmitted” – a reference to Mrs. Grace Mugabe.
Helicopters were seen hovering the capital while protesters were seen hugging soldiers. “This is what we want as Zimbabwe — Mugabe out!” one of the several sign at the rally read.
Most of the people in the crowd were seen complaining against the economic policies of Robert Mugabe government. One of the protester Tapiwa Magidi, a 32-year-old geologist, said Mugabe should resign as he is 93 and he was not serving young people.
“We are a lost generation. Most of the young people in this country were born after independence, but we are now grown and we don’t have much. We can’t get jobs, we have to live at home with our parents and we can’t even afford to get married,” he said.
On Wednesday armed forces seized power and placed Mugabe under house arrest. Soldiers deployed for his security were obeying their bosses. Mugabe, who leads ZANU-PF party, was seen in public on Friday but did not deliver any speech.
Public did not show any support to Robert Mugabe on Thursday. Life remained normal and people were seen going to their offices and children to their schools
Saturday’s march was organised by Chris Mutsvangwa, head of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association. He was quoted saying that the protest was “a show of people’s force” against Mugabe’s 37-year rule.
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