Opposition youths threaten protests

Opposition youths threaten protests

Source: Opposition youths threaten protests – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 20, 2017

YOUTHS from various opposition parties yesterday vowed to take to the streets soon to register their displeasure at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for allegedly frustrating the implementation of electoral reforms.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Addressing journalists in the capital yesterday under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), the youths said it was time to disobey the government and take to the streets to demand desired reforms.

“We strongly warn Zanu PF to stop forthwith its intentions of stealing the 2018 elections by interfering with [biometric voter registration] BVR [kits] procurement and deployment. You have stolen elections before, but not now, not ever. We challenge Zec and [Zec chairperson] Rita Makarau to urgently implement electoral reforms,” Tawanda Kalonga, who was leading the youths, said.

Kalonga, from Transform Zimbabwe, said they would escalate the fight until their demands are met.

He said they were prepared to explore both legal and constitutional means to ensure the 2018 elections are held in a free, fair, peaceful and credible environment.

Denford Ngadziore (MDC-T) said even if the police block them, they will go ahead and push for their demands through protests.

“Independence in 1980 serves to remind us that it is possible for youths to fight dictatorship and win, so with that background we have a duty and obligation to liberate ourselves,” he said.

“As youths of Zimbabwe, we will not allow a situation where a 93-year-old person [President Robert Mugabe] continues to lead us. We will announce very soon the Nera youth demonstration, which is not going to be dictated by the police. The youths will be in charge and we will go there [to protest].”

Elvis Mugari, from PDP, said they would be adopting more radical measures of peaceful resistance.

“We believe in civil disobedience and massive resistance. Let’s flood the streets. What happened in Egypt, Tunisia and others? Let’s do that as young people in Zimbabwe. It is our responsibility as the young people of Zimbabwe to do so. If we remain silent, we will be doing a disservice to the next generation and we will not remain silent in the face of injustice. We want to pile pressure on Mugabe so that he resigns even before the elections,” he said.

Nera and other civic society organisations have been involved in running battles with the riot police since last year over the implementation of electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 elections.

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