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#Movements not terrorists organisations, says Zimbabwe political parties

by Staff reporter
14 Aug 2016 at 13:56hrs | Views

Eight opposition political parties have  thrown their full support behind the growing social media activism saying the hashtag movements are not committing any crime.

The hashtag movements led by the popular #ThisFlag have caused panic within government circles forcing authorities to tighten a grip on social media by working on introducing tough  cyber laws.

Below is a statement by the parties :


POLITICAL PARTIES IN SUPPORT OF PEACEFUL PROTESTS

Over the past month, different groups of citizens have participated in protests against the hardships the people of Zimbabwe have endured, and continue to endure, as a result of the incompetence of the ZANU-PF regime.

On 1st July 2016, informal cross border traders staged a peaceful protest in Beit Bridge, against the ban on imports.

In response to calls by ‪#ThisFlag‬, ‪#Tajamika‬/Sijikile, ‪#ThisGown‬,‪#BeatthePot‬, Occupy Africa Unity Square Movement ( OAUS), Street Vendors and religious leaders, the people of Zimbabwe:

• peacefully stayed away on 6th July 2016 in major cities and towns;

• demonstrated peacefully in Bulawayo, against food insecurity and poverty, on 16th July 2016; and,

• demonstrated peacefully for jobs, and against the proposed Bond Notes, on 3rd August 2016, in central Harare.

Thousands thronged the Harare Magistrates' Court on the day Pastor Evan Mawarire was on trial, and more than a hundred lawyers voluntarily offered to defend him.

For months now, since 2015, Zimbabweans in the UK mount a vigil outside the embassy in London, every Saturday. And recently, in Australia, Canada and South Africa, peaceful protests have been staged at the country's missions there.

On behalf of the political parties we lead, we the undersigned, strongly and unreservedly give our full support to the HashTag movements and all other citizens who are exercising their constitutional rights to peaceful protests.

However, we note with dismay, the hostile and heavy handed response of the Mugabe regime to these peaceful citizen protests.

During all the events mentioned above, the Police brutally attacked peaceful protesters. In Epworth, Mabvuku, Ruwa and Tafara on 1st July 2016, even people in their homes were assaulted. Many of the protesters have been arrested and detained without charge, or have been falsely charged, only to be acquitted by the courts.

The farce around the arrest and trial of Pastor Evan Mawarire bear the hallmarks of political persecution, and legal incompetence of unparalleled proportions.

President Mugabe, military commanders and some ministers have issued threats against citizens using social media to mobilise protesters. It is NOT illegal to communicate through social media, and it is NOT illegal to organise peaceful protests.

Since their Harare Communiqué, expressing unhappiness with Mugabe's leadership, and withdrawing their support for him, leaders of war veterans have joined the long list of citizens who are victimised and pilloried for daring to think and see differently from Mugabe and ZANU-PF.

We also extend our support for, and solidarity with these war veterans, and urge them not to be cowered by the vain threats of the regime and its apologists.

The HashTag movements are not committing any crime. The war veterans' leaders have not committed treason, nor any lesser crime for that matter.

The struggler for liberation was waged by millions of Zimbabweans throughout the country, with the liberation movement as the vanguard. Robert Mugabe, Father Zimbabwe and many other national leaders at that time of struggle, were at pains to explain that the struggle was not to replace a white minority clique with a black one. Yet, that is exactly what we have now, a repressive, corrupt and incompetent black minority clique.

The people are demanding freedom from fear, freedom from hunger, freedom from joblessness and poverty. More specifically, the people are demanding the 2.2 million jobs that they were promised in 2013. The people are saying NO to corruption, NO to bond notes, NO to SI 64 of 2016, banning imports. The people want the US$15 bn diamond money to be brought back, to be used for national development. The people are demanding an end to the interference with, and victimisation of democratically elected local authorities. The people want a national, professional civil service and security services, serving all Zimbabweans.

The people are also demanding electoral reforms, and to be assured that the next time they vote, their vote will count.

We call on the leaders of the security services not to deny the people their freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly; all freedoms fully guaranteed by the Constitution of Zimbabwe. We say to these security sector leaders, you too stand to gain from the freedoms the people are fighting for, just like the Rhodesian forces benefited from national liberation and independence.

Sure as the sun will shine, so also will change come to Zimbabwe.

We stand in support of, and solidarity with the people, in all they are demanding. We demand the same, and we say to the people we are with you, tiripamwe, simunye.

Gilbert Dzikiti, PRESIDENT - DARE
Welshman Ncube, PRESIDENT - MDC
Morgan Tsvangirai, PRESIDENT - MDC-T
Simba Makoni, PRESIDENT - M.K.D
Tendai Biti, PRESIDENT - PDP
Elton Mangoma, PRESIDENT - RDZ
Dumiso Dabengwa, PRESIDENT - ZAPU
Farai Mbira, PRESIDENT - ZUNDE-M

Source - online