By Staff Reporter
Mutare: Churches and civic groups in Manicaland have called on leaders of major political parties in the country to spare locals any violent demonstrations, saying local communities were still mourning victims of Cyclone Idai which ravaged parts of Chimanimani and Chipinge killing hundreds in March this year.
The appeal follows planned demonstrations by MDC and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) over deteriorating living standards caused by the high cost of living in the country.
The organisations also fear that the demonstrations may turn violent leading to bloodshed.
Civic Society-Churches Joint Forum (CSCJF) provincial coordinator Walter Nyakunu said they were against any form of violence in the country, adding that Manicaland province was still mourning victims of tropical cyclone.
“As Manicaland province, we are still mourning victims of Cyclone Idai,” he said.
“We don’t want another demonstration which may lead to violence. Cyclone Idai was a national disaster…we should be visiting the area to console and offer moral support to victims.”
Nyakunu was addressing the media in the eastern border city on Friday.
He added, “Why not swallow your pride and engage in meaningful dialogue instead of trying to grandstand to gain cheap political mileage out of the suffering masses.”
CSCJF national coordinator Abigail Mupambwa said what have been meant to be peaceful demonstrations have in fact turned out to be violent leading to loss of innocent lives and destruction of property.
“Section 51 of the Constitution allows people to a peaceful demonstration but we have witnessed that these demonstrations are jumping the parameters of Section 51. We have tried but they are not turning out peacefully.
“Check what happened on August 1 and January 14,” Mupambwa said while referring to the demonstrations that rocked the country leading to the killing of many the army.
“Who is going to reimburse people after the toyi toyi. What about deaths? We condemn in strongest terms the so-called peaceful demonstrations that will turn violent.
“You cannot apply a wrong system to address a wrong system. We need a right to solve a right.”
She said it was usually ordinary people who are often targeted for state brutalities during the demonstrations while their leaders will be safe in their homes.
Turning to ongoing political dialogue, Mupambwa said they viewed the call as noble.
She however said all the political parties in the country should be involved but not necessarily agree on everything being discussed.