We will never hijack protests: Opposition parties

Opposition political parties in the country have distanced themselves from the recent wave of campaigns trending on social media saying they do not want to hijack the campaigns and steal the limelight.

Addressing journalists at a press conference on Friday, People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti said as the opposition, they are in full support of the citizens’ social movements but they are not willing to hijack the campaigns as it will be retrogressive to the fight against the failed Zanu PF regime.

“We are fully aware of the citizens’ movements on social media, and the wave of protests currently going on in the country. We are tempted to join and hijack the movement, but that will be unfair on the citizens’ part as they have fought gallantly.

“What we can only do is to support them and play our role in seeing that our goal of pushing the (President) Robert Mugabe led government out is achieved,” said the former Finance Minister.

He added that a coalition of opposition parties as the country heads for the 2018 election showdown is important in defeating Zanu PF which has been in power since the attainment of Independence in 1980.

Biti said, “ At the moment we are still ironing out a few sticking issues to see if we can come up with a grand coalition of parties which will field one candidate in 2018, but a decision has not been reached yet,”

Asked on whether a coalition with the Joice Mujuru led Zimbabwe People First was on the cards, leader of the Mavambo/ Kusile/Dawn (MKD) party, Dr Simba Makoni said it is up to the liberation war heroin to join hands with his party as he is willing to work with anyone who can take the country forward.

“We are committed to seeing a better Zimbabwe so our doors remain open to anyone who is willing to share the same agenda as ours, regardless of their previous political affiliation.

“What is needed right now is for the country to be rescued from this socio-economic quagmire that it finds itself in as a result we need patriots who can work with us to take the country forward,” said Dr Makoni who defected from Zanu PF prior to the 2008 elections.

Meanwhile, different political parties issued a statement in support of peaceful protests.

The statement which was read by MKD leader, Dr Simba Makoni said “On behalf of the political parties we lead, we note with dismay the heavy handed response by the Mugabe regime to peaceful protests that have been going on around the country.

“Government is infringing the rights of the citizenry by attacking them during these protests. It should be noted that it is not illegal to protest on the social media platform or on the streets, citizens have a constitutional mandate to protest and it is not illegal to organize a peaceful protest,” the statement read.

It further said “we fully extend our support for, and our solidarity with war vets who were incarcerated and we urge them not to be cowered by the vain of the regime and its apologists.

“We call upon the government and the leaders of the security forces not to deny the people their freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly; all freedoms fully guaranteed by the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” read part of the statement.

Also In attendance were Farai Mbira of ZUNDE, Elton Mangoma of Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe, Tendai Biti of PDP and Gilbert Dzikiti of the DARE party.