A COALITION opposition parties on (today) Friday announced they will be taking to the streets next week to demand electoral reforms in Zimbabwe, in protest hit Zimbabwe, which have often resulted in arrests and beatings of protesters by police.
The chairperson of the transitional working group for the coalition, called the National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA), Joelson Mugari, said more than 20 opposition parties had confirmed their participation in the mass demonstration to demand electoral reforms, scheduled for August 26.
Mugari said parties under the Coalition of Democrats (CODE), includeWelshman Ncube’s MDC, Mavambo
Khusile Dawn (MKD) led by Simba Makoni, signed up for the “mother of all demonstrations”.
“Twenty two presidents of political parties have confirmed their participation. We are having a meeting on Monday and they all want to be updated on where we are so far so that they can also input,” said Mugari.
He said chances were extremely high that the political parties would come together and form a grand coalition against the regime of 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe, blamed for the economic crisis the country is facing.
“It is a huge step and we are not stopping there, we are going ahead and discus the way forward and not just focus on the demonstration. We seem to be agreeing that it is now time to focus on the national crisis rather than concentrate on egocentric agendas,” he said.
Mugari said police had been informed of the intended action a week ago. He however said the police would, most likely, not sanction the demonstration.
“Sentiments that came out at the Joint Operation Command meeting seemed to suggest that the police did not want the demonstration to proceed,” said Mugari.
“The officer commanding Harare province chief superintendent, Newbert Saunyama, was suggesting that Harare roads were too small to accommodate the more than 150 000 people that we are expecting, but we questioned them how the same roads accommodated the one million Zanu PF demonstrators.”
There have been protests over the poor economy, the ban of imports of basic commodities from South Africa, cash shortages, delayed salaries and the imminent introduction of bond notes.
Mugari said organisers would approach the High Court if the police banned the planned “peaceful demonstration”.
CODE chairperson, Gilbert Dzikiti, said it was now time for all political parties to work together for a better Zimbabwe.
“That is the trajectory of what Zimbabweans are asking for and we have to meet the aspirations of the people. It is a matter of record that we should meet and find each other or else we get overtaken by events,” he said.
Dzikiti said other parties that were not signatories to CODE and NERA would also take part in the demonstration.