Yesterday morning, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces issued a statement about the situation in Zimbabwe, and basically said “we’re working on it.” Then later yesterday morning, Robert Mugabe was capping graduates at Zimbabwe Open University as the President and Chancellor. Go figure.
So then yesterday afternoon, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNWLVA) chairperson, Chris Mutsvangwa held a press conference where he said “We are giving an ultimatum that’s my statement; we are giving an ultimatum to Mugabe. This aura this pretence that things are normal, going to ZOU University and capping people, its pretence we won’t accept it, it’s finished.” He said the war veterans were planning a rally at Zimbabwe Grounds (Highfields, Harare), and invited everyone to join them.
Last week, Zanu PF provincial committees were saying Mugabe was their President and their candidate for 2018. But by the end of yesterday, Zanu PF provincial coordinating committee meetings in eight provinces had met and called on Robert Mugabe to step down. No wonder they say a week is a long time in politics.
Last night, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces issued a statement via ZBC and The Herald saying as long as the planned march remained orderly, peaceful and in tandem with the fundamental bill of rights and within the confines of the country’s constitution and without hate speech and incitement to cause violence, it fully supported the march.
From there, things quickly gathered steam with MDC Alliance, Citizens Manifesto, Fadzayi Mahere, Comrade Fatso, Pastor Evan, Shingi Munyeza and many others all stating their intention to join the solidarity march.
This morning, there was a party atmosphere in Harare as thousands of Zimbabweans came out with their flags and placards, calling for a new Zimbabwe. Some started at Zimbabwe Grounds, Highfields. Other marched through the CBD. A crowd gathered at Fourth Street and marched to State House, where they were addressed by Pastor Evan Mawarire on the back of a military vehicle, outside State House. The crowd then returned to Fourth Street where they were joined by a group of war veterans. They were then led by an army tank back down to Chitepo and Second, where they were joined by another large group of people.
View pictures from the #SolidarityMarch here
People had many different reasons for joining Saturday’s demonstrations:
Today is our independence day indeed. I am marching for Mugabe to go. Why is he not ashamed. – Wellie Marihoho
Exactly a year ago today we were arrested for sitting in a park. Today we march. I’m feeling all sorts of things. The journey ahead is long and uncertain but for today I am living in this moment. #FreshStart – Nyasha Musandu
I’m certainly joining the national march tomorrow to protest against: 1. 37 years of tyranny and the theft of the Zimbabwean dream by Robert Mugabe. He must step down. 2. The illegal intervention of SADC & its double standards on the Zim crisis. – Fadzayi Mahere
Glad to be alive today! Onward to freedom! So beautiful to see so many Zimbabeeans, blavk, white, mixed race, indian, etc all together! – Briggs Bomba
Tomorrow the citizens of Zimbabwe march from Zimbabwe Grounds, Highfields at 8am. Join us as we the citizens say ‘Mugabe Must Go, No To Military Rule & Yes To A New Zimbabwe!’ Lets create #OurZimbabweDream! – Comrade Fatso
Some were not so sure:
Am just amazed at how Zanu beats us up and takes along to a victory march without us realising it. But my view is no longer important the majority has decided. Let’s trod on. MUGABE IS FINISHED. – Raymond Majongwe
Don’t be used. Stand up for Zimbabwe not for sides in a factional fight. If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. It is a time for discernment. Free & fair elections in 2018 is the target. March for that. Nothing else. – Albert Gumbo
Progressives marching hand in hand with Mugabe’s war vets and ZANU PF to demand Mugabe’s removal. What a time to be alive. – Joe Black