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Deal With #31July Protest Message Not Attack Organisers – Biti Says To ED

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

OPPOSITION MDC Alliance co-vice president Tendai Biti has told President Emmerson Mnangagwa not to be confrontational but instead act responsibly and take into consideration the anti-corruption message of the #31July protests.

Political parties, churches and civil society groups are organising for a peaceful mass anti-corruption and poverty protest for this Friday.

However, in response, Mnangagwa has threatened the protesters that State security agents would ruthlessly crush the protests.

But, Biti said the organisers of the demonstrations were merely transmitting what the suffering masses have been trying to tell the government that the country’s economy was in the doldrums because of widespread corruption in government.

“But this regime is unique, this regime is violent, is impervious to logic, to objectivity and we have seen a serious clampdown on citizens,” Biti told journalists Wednesday.

“We object to the arrest of (freelance journalist) Hopewell Chin’ono. We object to the weaponisation of instrumentalisation of the profession of journalism.

“Journalism is a medium of transmission of a message, so you deal with the message. You don’t deal with the conveyor, and you don’t deal with the agent who is making that communication.

“So we demand the immediate release of Hopewell Chin’ono, we demand the immediate release of Jacob Ngaruvhume.

“Jacob Ngaruvhume is again a conveyor of the suffering masses out there, he has not committed any crime, and he has not thrown a stone at anyone.

“And anyone who has seen his video, he has been calling for a peaceful programme on the 31st July 2020. So we object to Zanu PF’s attempt to turn the 31st July 2020 into another 1st of August 2018.”

Biti added; “We do not want bloodshed, we want the Constitution to be upheld, we want the Constitution to be respected.”

He said Zimbabweans were justified in demonstrating against corruption as evidence showed that parastatals are being illegally used to finance Zanu PF.     
      
“Massive corruption is taking place through public procurement. We note for instance the massive corruption in all the parastatals. We have just gone through the audit report of 2019 of ZESA, it is a shocking report where millions and millions were allocated and distributed without respect to the laws, without respect to good corporate governance.

“We have just gone through the report of ZINARA where again millions and millions of US dollars were stolen without respect to the laws, without respect to the procurement laws.

“We have gone through the report of NSSA, again a shocking saga of corruption. So, the conclusion we make as MDC Alliance is the bulk of these parastatals are nothing but the feeding trough for the elite in Zanu PF,” said Biti.