Opposition loses demo momentum

OPPOSITION political parties appear to have lost the momentum to stage demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe’s rule following the expiry of the ban on protests in Harare nine days ago.

Source: Opposition loses demo momentum – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 26, 2016


Analysts said the temporary police ban had taken the sting out of the protests and allowed Mugabe to strengthen his grip on power.

Social commentator, Rashweat Mukundu said although the ban had taken the momentum from the demonstrations, the ultimate answer lay in the government addressing the problems that would lead citizens to protest.

“The ban took the sting and momentum out. The protest movement needs to identify new issues and repackage old issues to rebuild the protests. But, ultimately the end of the protests is premised on the government addressing root causes, including a collapsing economy and corruption,” he said.

Political analyst, Alexander Rusero said the opposition was now chasing shadows, as it failed to mount any meaningful demonstration against Mugabe after the ban.

“They have run out of steam. In fact, the opposition has not been doing anything meaningful other than hijacking protests by some individual groupings. If they are to succeed, Zanu PF should be kept on its toes,” he said.

Kwekwe-based human rights lawyer, Caroline Mugabe said it was not only the ban that had taken out the steam from demonstrations, but police brutality and incarcerations.

“You can’t take away that police brutality generally rendered demonstrations very risky and unattractive to the ordinary citizen. They ought to hold the police accountable to avoid repetition of the gross abuse,” she said.

However, National Electoral Reforms Agenda (Nera) legal secretary, Douglas Mwonzora denied that they had lost momentum, saying they had been focusing their energies elsewhere in the past weeks or so.

“It’s only nine days after the demonstration ban expired and Nera has made it clear it will resume demonstrations.
Currently, Nera is concentrating on the parliamentary public hearings on electoral reforms. I can assure you we will be back on the streets soon,” he said.

Mwonzora warned the government not to have a false sense of readiness to brutally crush the demonstrations.

“The thinking that police have managed to regroup and will effectively crush demonstrations is premised on the assumption that we don’t think. But we are fully aware of that and we promise our demonstrations will have more quality,” he said.