Zimbabwe’s opposition to hold mass anti-government protest in Harare

Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change will hold a “Free Zimbabwe” march in Harare today to protest against corruption, unemployment, power

mdc protests zimbabwe

Photo: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change will hold a “Free Zimbabwe” march in Harare today to protest against corruption, unemployment, power and fuel shortages and the further deterioration in economic conditions.

The opposition MDC aims to pressure President Emmerson Mnangagwa to enter dialogue with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. Next week, the opposition plans to present a petition to parliament to overturn the 2018 presidential election over the government’s legitimacy issues. The MDC does not recognise Mnangagwa’s presidency and maintains that his supporters rigged the election—charges the 76-year-old leader denies.

Mr Mnangagwa, who seized power from long-time leader Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup, has overseen Zimbabwe’s quick deterioration into one of its worst crises in decades. The southern African nation is enduring shortages of foreign currency, fuel and bread as well as 18-hour power cuts.

Today’s protests risk a violent crackdown by security forces, who claim the constitution allows the government to deploy the army to confront protesters. The last mass protest—organised by the main labour union in January against a sharp fuel hike—was met by a military clampdown, killing 17 and resulting in the arrest of more than 900. With reports that the government is already mobilising forces ahead of today’s march, further violence is likely. The protests are scheduled to continue into Saturday.

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