Opposition National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku says Friday’s planned mass demonstrations by the Movement for Democratic Change lie squarely in the hands of its supporters because the party leadership is confused and is pushing its own agenda and not that of its supporters.
Madhuku, whose party joined President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), said the demonstrations penciled for Harare on Friday, Bulawayo on Monday, Gweru on Tuesday, Masvingo on Wednesday, and Mutare on Thursday were not necessary at this particular time in the country’s history.
There have been two mass demonstrations so far since the 30 July 2018 elections and both have turned violent with six people being killed in the 1 August 2018 demonstrations and at least 13 being killed in the January demonstrations.
Masvingo did not participate in the January demonstrations which resulted in massive looting especially in Bulawayo and Harare.
Madhuku told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation that it was really up to the MDC supporters to participate in the demonstrations or not because party leaders were picking and choosing which issues to raise and most of the issues they raised benefitted them as individuals but did not benefit their supporters.
“We do not need demonstrations,” Madhuku said.
He said Zimbabweans must sit together with each one bringing their own ideas to the table, ideas that move the country forward, ideas that can end the present economic crisis, ideas that will improve people’s lives.
Madhuku said if parties presented these ideas and they were not implemented or taken on board, then, and only then, would the party be justified to take alternative action.
He said that the actions of the MDC were quite confusing because on one hand they did not recognise Mnangagwa as President and wanted him removed yet at the same time they were queuing for diplomatic passports issued by his government.
The MDC last week snubbed diplomatic passports offered by Mnangagwa yet several MDC legislators already have them.
According to the Herald and Newsday, MDC MPs who already have diplomatic passports are Chalton Hwende, Tendai Biti, Prosper Mutseyami, Paurina Mpariwa, Daniel Molokele, Concilia Chinanzvavana, Prince Dubeko Sibanda, Anele Ndebele, Willias Madzimure, Guebuza Guebuza, Zwizwai Murisi, Tapiwa Mashakada, Dorcas Sibanda, Ruth Labode and Jasmine Tofa.
Diplomatic passports allow holders to enjoy various advantages that include easy passage at borders, special lines at customs, tax exemptions, travel upgrades on airlines and hotels, free visas to any country and in some cases, visa-free travel, among others.
Madhuku also said every month the MDC MPs collected their allowances from Parliament yet they do not recognise the President.
“They choose to recognise the President when it is in their personal interest, when it suits their individual interests. But when they are asked to recognise the President for the purposes of the progress of the country they do not do that. We therefore think that these are people who have personal interests at heart,” Madhuku said.
He said that the second issue that showed that the MDC was confused was that they wanted to say they are the only political opposition. Their understanding of dialogue is that it must be between their president and the President of the country.
Madhuku acknowledged that the MDC had strong support as shown by last year’s elections so their supporters had the final say.
“The question is: To what extent will their supporters continue to support a party that exists to push the agenda of its leaders it not a party that pushes the agenda of those that supported them in the last elections?”