POLITICIANS and social commentators have described as misguided the flash protests by MDC Alliance youths Wednesday afternoon in Warren Park suburb, with the opposition youth leaders saying they were protesting against hunger during the lockdown.
Zimbabwe is in the middle of an extended national lockdown against the spread of the coronavirus which has so far seen 37 confirmed cases and four deaths.
MDC Youth Assembly Vice Chairperson Cecilia Chimbiri, Secretary for Policy and Harare West legislator, Joanna Mamombe and Youth Deputy Organising Secretary, Netsai Marowa this afternoon led a flash protest in Warren Park “against hunger” during the Covid-19 lockdown.
However, opposition LEAD President Linda Masarira is not amused by the protest which she says defeats the whole purpose of lockdown, social distancing and control of the coronavirus spread.
“It is unfortunate that whilst the whole world is focused on curbing Covid-19 and finding ways to resuscitating economic activities, MDC Alliance youth decided to go on a flash demonstration which is illegal considering the lockdown regulations in place in our country,” Masarira told the Zimbabwe Voice.
“This is not the time to play cheap politics, fake abductions or to agitate people for political expediency. We need all political minds on the deck to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is neither the time nor the place for preconceived demonstrations to look for donor funding and to paint Zimbabwe black,” Masarira fumed.
Another politician, Abigail Mupambi of the opposition MDC-T, urged the arrested activists to grow out of student activism and realize that the fight against Covid-19 was not a political point-scoring opportunity.
“Joana Mamombe is a Member of Parliament and must stop these cheap dramas forthwith. This is nonsensical, uncalled for and primitive. I saw their pictures openly defying the lockdown rules this afternoon; l knew those were settings for some dramma moments. Come on! Get out of students activism!
“No wonder why Chamisa sometimes remind you that you are stupid,” said Mupambi.
Conway Tutani, a journalist, described the act by the MDC Alliance activists as irresponsible. Tutati said at the very least, the activists should have shown leadership and care for each other by wearing face masks as well as practising social distancing.
“The least these MDC Alliance demonstrators could have done today was to wear masks and not have them hanging around the neck with the mouth and nose completely uncovered, while exercising social distancing.
“However, they threw all caution to the wind after mob psychology took over – this is one irresponsible, poor show.”
For her part, Masarira said the activists must respect the rule of law as Zimbabwe, like any other nation fighting the coronavirus pandemic, is under emergency laws to lessen impact of virus spread.
“Cognizant of the Soren tactics which the MDCA youth have tried time and again to implement of creating a dilemma for government “dilemma action”.
“Vana ava ngavarege kuita hondo nemutemo. They always cry foul about rule of law yet they fail to comply to the laws of this land. The dilemma actions which they learnt in Cape Town and Livingstone will not work and neither do they serve the interests of suffering Zimbabweans.
“It is very irresponsible to try and create another dilemma for a government which is already in a dilemma with the Coronavirus.
“It is time they start leading by example and stop this tomfoolery which doesn’t transform anyone’s livelihood in Zimbabwe.”
Emerging reports indicate that the MDC Alliance youth leaders were not arrested at all.
“Following an Alert in respect of the arrest of Hon Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova we attended to Harare Central Police, Milton Park Police and Showgrounds Road Block where the three were arrested. We have failed to locate the trio at all the stated locations and ZRP is professing ignorance of the arrest.
“We are making frantic efforts to try and locate the three youth leaders and will keep you informed. Any information pertaining their whereabouts will be greatly welcome.
“We are not ruling out the possibility of the regime playing its usual tricks,” said Agency Gumbo, a lawyer and MDC Alliance Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs in the Youth Assembly. – Zimbabwe Voice