A number of weary Zimbabweans plan to join other President Robert Mugabe critics to stage a protest in the country’s city capital as a way of showing they stamp their feet against the president’s corrupt and tyrannical leadership in Zimbabwe
Despite the order for the protest match to go ahead, report from the state capital has it that the Zimbabwean security department has mounted its men all over the city to secure the arena.
The police deployed water cannons and anti-riot officers on the streets of the capital on Wednesday ahead of a planned demonstration by groups opposing the Mugabe-led administration and his party- ZANU PF.
Anti-government protests in August descended into some of the worst violence seen in the southern African nation for two decades as anger over economic hardship boiled over.
Not withstanding, the protesters are determined to take on their match to say no to the president’s numerous policies alongside his government’s decision to take over the purchase of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits from the United Nations.
A new group called NERA (the National Electoral Reform Agenda) initiated the protest match against government’s plans on the BVR kit needed to compile a new voters’ roll ahead of the 2018 polls.
NERA is not a formal coalition of Zimbabwe opposition parties, but the group has taken it upon itself to spearhead the fight for electoral reform in the country.
Zimbabweans were initially in support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to be in charge of the procurement only to be informed later on that government was taking over the process.
The new decision by the Zimbabwean government raised the fear that Mugabe’s ZANU-PF would use it to make it easier for President Mugabe who vows to return in 2018, to skew the list of eligible voters in his favour.
The opposition – and that, of course, includes the main Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change – is worried that this would further open doors for electoral rigging which the ruling party has been rumoured to have already began moves for.
The protest match by Zimbabweans who are seemingly hungry for a change will be first of its kind this year after the 2016 mass protest where nationals angrily demanded the resignation of Africa’s oldest sitting president.
Though news headlines have it that the state police is against the protest match, BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that the police allowed the NERA protest march on the outskirts of downtown Harare but have prevented it from heading through the city center to the offices of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Opposition parties say ZEC is biased in favour of ZANU-PF and is run by security agents loyal to the 93-year-old Mugabe. ZEC denies the allegations.
Zimbabwe is due to hold its next presidential and parliamentary election by July 2018. Mugabe has been endorsed as the ruling party’s presidential candidate.
Despite health challenges, the leader who turned 93 in February this year, said during his birthday celebration that he would run for the presidential seat again to the wish of his party and supporters.
“They want me to stand for elections … If I feel that I can’t do it anymore, I will say so to my party so that they relieve me. But for now, I think I can’t say so,” he said pointing out that majority of his party supporter feel that there is no replacement, a successor who to them is acceptable.