It was a great and memorable day for Zimbabweans who took to the streets of Harere on Thursday singing the song of Mugabe’s resignation. The demonstration which saw a huge turn out of Zimbabweans is one of the biggest President Robert Mugabe has had in nearly a decade.
Under large police supervision, supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) trouped out in thousands carrying anti-Mugabe placards and singing party songs as they march through central Harare demanding that the 92-year-old leader make a “dignified exit.”
Some marchers also carried banners reading ‘Old clueless Mugabe must go’. ‘Where is our $15bn dollars?’ read one placard, in reference to recent statements by Mugabe that $15bn worth of diamonds had been looted in eastern Zimbabwe.
Its usually almost a tradition for the police to break through anti government protests under the authoritarian regime of the president, but this time, the police carefully monitored the peaceful protest with their riot gear armed with batons and water cannon.
The march was authorized on Wednesday in a last-minute court ruling and it was peaceful, with police on duty.
Women were not left out in the march as they were seen with their children strapped to their backs as they joined marchers carrying placards demanding that Mugabe steps down.
The 92-year-old president who has been in power since independence from white minority rule in 1980, has in the recent times been faced with more petition from citizens and opposition parties to step down as president.
Though Mugabe remains active, his increasingly fragile health alongside economic downgrades of the country has sparked intense speculation over his successor and the fate of the country when his rule comes to an end.
Zimbabwe has suffered years of economic collapse and mass emigration during an era marked by intolerance of dissent, vote rigging and accusations of human rights abuses.
Briefly speaking during the mass protest, the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai attacked Mr Mugabe’s rule saying he has no clue on how to solve the country’s numerous problems
“Mugabe has no solution to the crisis, …we are here to tell Mugabe and his regime that you have failed”
“We are not demanding an overthrow of the government… We are demanding a dignified exit for the tired Mugabe.”
The party further added that the march was not only against the president, but also against corruptions and poverty that has over taken the land.
“It’s time Mugabe listens to the voice of the people. The people shall liberate themselves.” Douglas Mwonzora, an MDC party spokesman, told journalists. We have an empty promise of 2.2-million jobs which are not there. We have massive corruption.”
Marchers were greeted by blaring car horns, and clapping and whistles by onlookers, including some people waving from windows in high-rise buildings and the MDC vowed to hold more mass protest around the country.
Mugabe has despite his weary state, insisted on contesting election in 2018. He says he would continue ruling the Zimbabweans until God finally say come. On the other hand, his party, Zanu-PF has been ripped off by series of fight over who succeeds him.