Protestors have blamed the MDC leadership for taking a back seat at the just ended political demonstration that flopped last week Friday which saw nearly 100 people being arrested by the police.
The demonstration that was organized by the MDC leadership, was crushed by the police on the grounds that it did not have police clearance. The MDC later applied for an interdict through the high court which was also denied.
Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, said police went in the central business district to disperse the unlawful demonstration after some youths went on to disturb the smooth flow of transport and business activities.
“Some youths went on to engage in confrontational acts which included threats, intimidation and disruption of the smooth flow of traffic in the CBD. The police moved in and dispersed the unlawful gathering. In the process 91 people were arrested for various offenses,” said Nyathi.
There is however blame on the MDC leadership for their absence from the streets on the day, as the MDC leadership was embroiled in the courts to interdict the ban.
“Yes we understand the leadership was making frantic efforts to legalise the demo, but how could all the leadership be at the courts? Some leaders were supposed to coordinate the demonstrators and provide direction, rather than leave protestors to guessing which exposed us to the police”, said Jefta Mlotshwa.
Tonderai Mhazi another demonstrator said we want leadership that leads from the front and not from the office desk.
The problem Mdhara (Sir) is we have people who are good at talking and leading the masses to the streets ivo vasipo (while absent). The leaders were not there when we needed them. People were beaten by the police and where were the leaders. We need them panopisa pacho (at the hotspot), lamented Tonderai.
After the police cancelled the MDC demonstration citing manpower shortage, MDC made a high court interdict on the day of the march seeking to continue with the protests.
MDC vice president Tendai Biti, said he was shocked the police had the manpower to deny people rights of movement but lacked manpower to monitor the demonstration.
“They have sufficient manpower to cordon off activities in Harare and prevent people coming from Chitungwiza and Ruwa to come to the march… It’s very ironic that they have to stop rights but no manpower to facilitate rights,” said Biti.
A protestor only identified by the name Brian disagreed with Tonderai, and said the mandate of the leaders is to ensure that everything is above board, hence their absence from the streets.
“We don’t want our leaders to be harassed and beaten as we witnessed on Friday, they should be planning and giving us direction whilst we the masses are running on the ground, what if a stray bullet hits them, we want them alive, said Brian.
MDC spokesperson Daniel Molokele said the failed demonstration in Harare was state-planned, and the MDC will in due course reorganize the demonstration and that the party was now concentrating on the Bulawayo demonstration.
“We are going to continue with the process of making sure we have organised something more in Harare, for this moment in time as leadership we are saying we are not backing down, the struggle continues, said Molokele.
Police stopped the MDC demonstration on Friday, and have arrested demonstrators and impounded granite stones and catapults it said were to be used during the march. The MDC insists the protest was going to be peaceful, had the police done its job in providing security and allowed free movement to the protestors.
SADC News Zimbabwe Correspondent