Police won't stop our peaceful march, Zim's MDC says

File: AFP
File: AFP

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition parties went to court Thursday to block police from disrupting a march planned for Friday, the latest of a string of protests in the southern African country.

The planned rally is to demand electoral reforms before 2018 when 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country for decades, will seek re-election.

The move to seek court backing came a day after police violently put down another march by opposition youths, firing teargas and water cannon and beating them as they staged a protest against police brutality.

Police tried to "discourage" Friday's march, saying the anticipated crowd of around 150 000 would disrupt business and traffic.

But the opposition was defiant.

"This is a peaceful march, it is not up to the police to choose which demonstration to encourage and which demonstration not to encourage," opposition spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told reporters.

Free and Fair elections 

"We have gone to the court... to make sure that the police do not disturb the peaceful demonstration."

Former cabinet minister Didymus Mutasa, spokesperson of the National Electoral Reform Agenda which groups political parties pushing for the reforms, said the march was to demand "free and fair elections".

The opposition parties include the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) led by former vice president, Joice Mujuru and the Progressive Democratic Party of ex-finance minister Tendai Biti.

Zimbabwe's last elections in 2013 were won by Mugabe in a vote the opposition said was rigged.

The government on Thursday warned it would clamp down heavily on any protests.

"We will not tolerate any attempts, by any group of persons, political parties, civic organisations or individuals whose actions will undermine the peace and quiet that Zimbabwe enjoys today," Home Affair Minister Ignatious Chombo told reporters.

He said Wednesday's protests were "western sponsored".

"Those regime change agents bent on trying to remove a democratically-elected government will face the full wrath of the law."

Zimbabwe has seen a mounting tide of violent protests over the past weeks, with demonstrators calling on Mugabe to step down.

Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, has overseen an economic collapse that has caused food and cash shortages, with the country battling to pay public servants.



We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When a Covid-19 vaccine for under 16's becomes available, will you be taking your children to get it?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, immediately!
37% - 2364 votes
I'll wait to see how others respond
27% - 1706 votes
No, I don't think they need it
37% - 2365 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.11
(-0.78)
ZAR/GBP
21.06
(-0.15)
ZAR/EUR
18.24
(+0.04)
ZAR/AUD
11.64
(+1.40)
ZAR/JPY
0.14
(-0.47)
Gold
1730.88
(-2.23)
Silver
26.59
(-3.23)
Platinum
1191.50
(-2.13)
Brent Crude
66.03
(-0.11)
Palladium
2321.00
(-3.07)
All Share
66138.05
(-1.99)
Top 40
60754.30
(-2.11)
Financial 15
12200.05
(-1.09)
Industrial 25
86144.34
(-0.81)
Resource 10
67459.85
(-4.14)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo