Opposition political parties, civil society activists and workers’ unions have supported hundreds of Zimbabweans on social media calling all citizens of the country to come out in their numbers on Wednesday to protest the government’s “failed economic policies”.
Under the hashtag #ShutDownZim, the social media campaign received massive response from the Zimbabwean public including the head of opposition party, Zimbabwe People First party (ZPF).
It is not clear if the demonstration has been authorised by any court or the consent of the security services has been sought.
Police should protect the demonstrators ... Those that are demonstrating should respect the rights of others including the security agents who are supposed to be protecting them.
Joyce Mujuru, Zimbabwe’s former vice-president and now leader of the new opposition party ZPF in a press conference on Tuesday said she was in support of the calls for the demonstration and warned the police to protect the demonstrators as they observe their constitutional right.
“Police should protect the demonstrators, and everyone knows that the demonstrators are the people and the government. Those that are demonstrating should respect the rights of others including the security agents who are supposed to be protecting them,” she said.
Mujuru added that instead of suppressing popular sentiments, government should rather address the causes of the many problems facing the country.
Meanwhile, the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on the other hand called for the resignation of President Mugabe as the worsening situation in the country points to a “failed government”.
In a statement issued on Monday, the party said it will support every demonstration aimed at exposing the government for failing to resolve the national crisis as it is a right enshrined in section 59 of the Constitution.
“As a party, we urge all our members to join any legitimate demonstration that is meant to bring pressure on this regime. On our part, we shall continue to mobilize Zimbabweans against this government, which must resign because it has failed the people of Zimbabwe,” it added.
Zimbabwe police has however warned against social unrest after a violent clash with protesters in Harare on Monday forcing police to use tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is quite aware that some people would like to engage in social unrest. It’s in this regard that police officers have been heavily deployed to deal with any public disorder situation,” police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said.30 people were arrested during Monday’s violent protest while 71 people were arrested last week in the south of the capital during a protest against the ban on imports of basic commodities.
The #ShutDownZim demonstration is against bond notes, import bans, government corruption and police harrassment among others, says Pastor Evan Mawarire, a popular Zimbabwean activist who advises against violence during the demonstration.
Public transport services have also been advised not to work on Wednesday as well as trucks in protest against the ban on importation of some goods.
Meanwhile, civil servants embarked on a three-day strike starting Tuesday for the non-payment of June salaries. They join teachers who are already out of the classrooms till they receive their salaries.