ZIMBABWE – The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has called on Zimbabweans to “stand up and liberate yourselves” from President Robert Mugabe’s regime.
In a statement, the party led by former Finance Minister Tendai Biti, said Zimbabweans need to copy the example set by South African students a few weeks ago when demanding free education and a reversal of a university fee hike.
“Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies have committed crimes against humanity, crimes against the people of Zimbabwe through economic mismanagement, violence and the disrespect of the people’s will,” the party said in a statement signed by spokesperson Jacob Mafume.
“To us, it is clear that the situation cannot continue unabated. Therefore, it is now quite clear that Zimbabweans must say NO to this mess that Zanu PF has created and craft a new narrative for themselves.
“It is now time that the people of Zimbabwe show courage and not outsource their struggle to outsiders.
“It is time that we must take a leaf from what university students in South Africa did a few weeks ago when they successfully staged a peaceful and democratic demonstration against fee increases.”
Mafume said South African protests against President Jacob Zuma’s government decision to hike university fees should act as an inspiration to Zimbabweans.
“The +FeesMustFall protest was a success that South Africa President Jacob Zuma was forced to give in to the students’ demands.
“Zimbabweans must understand that none but ourselves can shape our destiny.
“It is time we take our future into our own hands and hold peaceful demonstrations against the highly corrupt and murderous Zanu PF regime,” the statement added.
“The people of Zimbabwe must be inspired and seek protection from the people’s Charter in order to enjoy their freedom and better opportunities.
“They have the right to hold peaceful and lawful demonstrations in line with the Constitution. The time to say NO to Zanu PF corruption is now as no one will do that on your behalf.”
Mafume said the new narrative in Zimbabwe “is also to create a broad alliance that will work as a bulwark against any potential threats from Zanu PF, its militia and the state agents”.
“For the past 35 years the peace loving and hard-working people of Zimbabwe have live under an oppressive Zanu PF rule characterised by a legacy of wanton destruction, de-legitimisation, fear and intolerance,” he said.
Zimbabwe has been in the throes of a debilitating economic, social and political crisis for the past decade and half since Mugabe’s administration embarked on a chaotic program of land expropriation that brought agriculture to its knees.
The PDP said the country’s economy has dramatically collapsed since independence 35 years ago.
“In 1980, Zimbabwe was the jewel of Africa with a per capita of $1,200 and unemployment figures of less than seven percent. But 35 years down the line, Zimbabwe has been raped by multitude of serious economic dislocation,” said Mafume.
“First it was the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) of 1997 when more than 500 000 workers were retrenched and when Zimbabwe lost more than 70 percent of its monetary value on 14 November 1997.
“Now we have the minister of finance, Patrick Chinamasa’s madness, which is characterised by massive deindustrialization and contraction.
“At least 91 percent of the working population is now in the informal sector and the country’s economy is projected to end at minus 2, 5 percent this year and set to decrease to minus 4 percent in 2016.”
The opposition group said it is now quite clear that Zanu PF has redefined failure making comparison between Mugabe’s government and former Zaire dictator Mobuto Sese Seko and Uganda’s Idi Amin.
Millions of Zimbabweans including professionals have fled the country’s economic meltdown and corruption and are now eking out a living doing menial jobs across the globe.