Zimbabwe President gives thump-up to opposition protest

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has given the MDC the green light to stage a protest against his own government’s poor handling of the national economy which, according to the main opposition party, has driven the majority into abject poverty.

The Zanu PF leader met with his party’s top officials Thursday afternoon and agreed there was no fundamental problem with the opponent staging a protest.

The demonstration, dubbed “Free Zimbabwe March” is scheduled for this Friday in Harare before spilling to other major towns and cities.

Permanent Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana confirmed Mnangagwa’s position to the local media.

“The demonstrations have not been stopped,” said Mangwana after he was asked to confirm the President’s position with regards to the upcoming protest.

Earlier, Mnangagwa posted on his official Twitter account that he was ready for dialogue with the opposition before he condemned violence.

“The recent national holidays remind us that our strongest asset is our unity,” said the President.

He added, “I reiterate my calls to all opposition leaders that my door remains open & my arms remain outstretched. Riots and destructive violence must be rejected; peaceful constructive dialogue are the way forward.”

The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC early this week notified the police of its intention to stage a peaceful demonstration against the government over increasing economic and social hardships.

Mnangagwa’s remarks come after his party youths vowed Wednesday to block any attempts by the opponent to remove the President through violence.

Zanu PF secretary for the youth league Pupurayi Togarepi, at a media briefing, said the opposition must stop its planned demonstration since the economy was improving.

Togarepi accused MDC of plotting to hire thugs from outside the country to come and overthrow the Mnangagwa led administration.

“The Zanu PF Youth League will be there, vigilant, active, prepared to defend the revolution.

“We are not going to allow any nonsense. We are prepared to defend our party, our democracy, peace and the freedom,” he said.

But MDC says the demonstration will be a peaceful one.

Government has deployed anti-riot police officers in the Central Business District in preparation for the march as tension gripped the city. – Newzim