Marondera (New Ziana) – Yet again, demonstrations that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party had planned in parts of Mashonaland East province on Friday spectacularly failed, with businesses operating normally, and people carrying on their usual routines, police said.
The party had intended to hold the demonstrations at a number of rural business centres and the provincial capital Marondera, in what it called the second phase of its planned campaign of marches after last week’s failed street protests in five big cities.
The demonstrations are ostensibly to pressure the government to resolve the prevailing economic hardships in the country, but have since been unmasked as a ploy financed by western countries to unseat the government.
Last week, the MDC-A called for street marches in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo, but all failed to take off. Only in Harare did small groups of mainly youths assemble for the protests, but were quickly dispersed by police.
Most of the demonstrations had been outlawed by the police and courts on security grounds after similar MDC-A led protests in the past stirred up orgies of violence in which lives were lost.
In the Mashonaland East provincial capital Marondera on Friday, all leading supermarkets, banks, flea markets and other businesses were trading as usual, but police maintained a heavy presence to thwart any disturbances.
Police assistant commissioner Stephen Zengeya, who is in charge of police administration in the province, told New Ziana law enforcement agents were on high alert although people and businesses had ignored the MDC-A’s calls for protests.
Apart from Marondera, the party had scheduled protests at Mutoko, Murehwa and Mahusekwa business centres, but police said residents and businesses in the areas similarly snubbed the calls, and operated normally.
“The situation in Marondera just like anywhere throughout the country is calm. There are no any reports of protests anywhere in the country including Marondera,” police spokesperson Paul Nyathi told New Ziana.
Ahead of last week’s protests, the government said it suspected a hidden foreign hand in the MDC-A’s plans, and it later emerged officials from the US Embassy held meetings with some of the party’s top officials on the eve of the demonstrations in Harare to strategize.
But while the MDC-A was quick to pin the blame for the failure of the demonstrations on the police and court injunctions, the reality on the ground pointed to no takers in most of the targeted cities.
Just like in Friday’s planned marches in Mashonaland East, there were no attempts to march by the party’s supporters last week in any of the cities except Harare, an anomaly by the MDC-A’s standards.
That left egg on the party’s face, and to save face this time around after Friday’s failure, the MDC-A outright denied it had called for the demonstrations in Mashonaland East province.
Party spokesman Daniel Molokele told New Ziana reports the MDC-A had scheduled protests in the province were untrue, saying instead the party was revising its strategies after last week’s failed demonstrations.
But this was contradicted by local police who said the party’s Marondera district organising secretary, Misheck Manyere, had lodged a formal notice with them of the plans to hold the marches.