Party youth in bid to counter anti-Mugabe protests

Thursday July 21 2016

Supporters of

Supporters of "ThisFlag campaign" kneel for prayer at the entrance of the Harare magistrate's court where pastor Evan Mawarire appeared on charges of inciting public violence on July 13, 2016. Zimbabwe’s High Court on Wednesday overturned a police ban on protests in the capital Harare. PHOTO | AFP  

By KITSEPILE NYATHI
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Supporters of Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party on Wednesday took to the streets of the capital Harare in response to mounting protests against President Robert Mugabe’s rule.

Zimbabwe has in the past two months been rocked by massive protests by citizens unhappy with corruption and the deteriorating economy.

Some of the protest groups say they want President Mugabe to resign for failing to deliver on his 2013 election promises that included creating 2.2 million jobs.

However, the 92 year-old ruler on Tuesday attacked one of the leaders of the protests, Pastor Evan Mawarire, saying he was a fake preacher who was sponsored by Western countries.

He said those who were unhappy with the situation in Zimbabwe were free to leave the country.

On Wednesday, the tens of thousands of Zanu PF youths sang and chanted slogans as they marched to the party’s headquarters in the capital in a show of force.

On arrival they were addressed by party leaders who announced that President Mugabe was giving them hundreds of hectares of land in the cities to build houses.

MDC PLANS ANOTHER PROTEST

Zanu-PF deputy youth secretary Kudzai Chipanga threatened those protesting against the veteran ruler with unspecified action. “You go around saying tajamuka (enough is enough), let me tell you, we said enough is enough a long time ago,” he said. “Our President is delivering and you want to disturb him. Be warned.”

The opposition MDC plans to stage another major protest in Harare on Saturday.

The government recently claimed that its investigations revealed that the US and France were behind recent demonstrations .  

 But diplomats from the two countries have denied the accusations.

 Mr Mawarire started his #ThisFlag movement in April, posting videos on Facebook and Twitter encouraging Zimbabweans to demand an end to corruption and economic mismanagement.

 The campaign has attracted thousands of followers and after his release from prison last week, the pastor vowed to continue with the protests until the demands are met.