Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change MDC staged a protest march Thursday to call on President Robert Mugabe to resign. This follows what the MDC said is the ruling party’s plan to extend the rule of the president to year 2010. They claim the extension is contrary to what the constitution stipulates.
Nelson Chamisa is the spokesman for the MDC. He said the surprise protest march in the city Bulawayo is part of the party’s recent resolution to prevent the ruling party from flouting the country’s constitution.
“The MDC decided at our last national council meeting that in line with the congress resolution to make sure that we engage in peaceful and democratic resistance against the dictatorship in this country. We need to make sure that we have a program to make sure that elections are held in 2008 under a democratic constitution,” he said.
Nelson said the party is asking the president to resign because of what he called the ruling party’s rigging of the last elections.
“I’m sure you know that Mugabe has been surviving on a perforated mandate, a mandate which is contested, contested in the sense that he rigged the elections. So his legitimacy is always a subject of serious debate, and we still contend as MDC that he is not the legitimate president of this country,” he said.
Nelson said the President and his ruling party is playing games with Zimbabweans.
“We still need to make sure that the matter of legitimacy is resolved in 2008 when elections are due. Only to hear Mugabe and ZANU-PF trying to play games with the people by saying that now elections are supposed to be pushed further to 2010, which is completely not in sync with the ordinary man on the ground,” Nelson noted.
He said Zimbabweans are expecting the crisis in the country to be resolved.
“In fact men and women in Zimbabwe expect elections as of tomorrow, to make sure that there is a resolution of the various issues affecting them. There is a crisis of legitimacy, a crisis of leadership and a crisis of governance in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Nelson said the surprise march made the impact it was designed to make.
“Certainly it had a big impact. In fact it has shaken the corridors of power; it has also shaken the roots of dictatorship. Now, we know that they are panicking; they think that we are going to have these demonstrations in other countries but we said no, and we are going to demonstrate as and when we want,” he said.
Nelson said there would be more demonstrations, which would not be advertised.
“We are going to do things that are not advertised beforehand, we are just going to do these kinds of surprised activities. A lot is coming, in fact this year is a year of action; it’s a watershed year for our country because this is the only year we are supposed to make sure we deliver change to Zimbabwe,” he said.