OPPOSITION leaders yesterday said they will not be silenced and stopped by a “wheelchair-bound” President Robert Mugabe, vowing “maximum resistance” against policies that favour Zanu PF ahead of next year’s general elections.
Speaking at a National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) feedback meeting in Harare, opposition parties claimed they were being denied adequate campaign space by the Zanu PF-led government, including disruption of their rallies by the police.
Reacting to the police’s prohibition of their rally at Africa Unity Square, Nera head of legal affairs and MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora said it was now time to turn the heat on Mugabe and his security apparatus, so they give in to calls for electoral reforms
“We cannot accept oppression by this tyranny. We refuse discrimination and oppression by black on black and we are going to resist that,” he said, constantly making reference to the “special gym and massage chair” presented to Mugabe on Monday as a belated 93rd birthday present from his Cabinet ministers, which had initially been reported to be a special mobile chair.
Mugabe’s critics have described the donation as a wheelchair disguised as a massage chair for the ageing Zanu PF leader.
“They have completely forgotten that they have health institutions to run, the infrastructure to take care of, education sector to take care of and investment to attract,” Mwonzora continued.
“They have completely forgotten about this and this shows that this government is no longer suitable for the people of this country and we must get rid of it.”
He said, as Nera members, they had been patient with law enforcement agents, but it was now time for defiance.
MDC-T deputy president, Elias Mudzuri, also took potshots at Mugabe over his reluctance to reform the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as a strategy to manipulate election results and further extend his stay in office.
“We made a mistake to allow (Justice) Rita Makarau to head Zec as she is a member of Zanu PF,” he said.
Nera official, Edmore Mukushwa, said “wheelchair-bound” Mugabe had caused a lot of trouble for the country.
He said it was time for the opposition to defy oppression and start fighting together for the common cause of electoral reforms.
MDC-T deputy chairperson, Morgen Komichi, rallied opposition parties to unite and dislodge Zanu PF from power by demanding a level political playing field.
“We cannot be led by a leader, who is in a wheelchair and we must reject that. Zanu-PF cannot rig the next elections because we are united and working together as opposition political parties,” he said.
Mugabe’s wife, Grace, has declared that even if the President was incapacitated, a special wheelchair would be made for him and he would continue ruling from it.
A representative of Joice Mujuru’s National People’s Party, Munyaradzi Banda, accused Mugabe of running down the country through his “ruinous” policies.
He said Mujuru had done her homework and had what it takes to fight and win against Zanu PF.
The feedback rally, where several other opposition leaders presented solidarity messages, was meant to apprise supporters of Nera’s fight for electoral reforms.
The parties also demanded the disbandment of Zec and allow Sadc, the African Union and the United Nations to run the elections to ensure credible results.