Political commentators and analysts have said the government is likely to descend heavily on protestors who are planning to demonstrate on 31 July, the Daily News Reports.
Speaking to the publication, UZ’s Eldred Masunungure said
…However, the heavy hand of the State awaits those that will partake in the planned demonstration, and in the face of Covid-19 authorities will not hesitate to use a hammer to kill a fly. The State will likely go into its default mode of heavy-handedness to send a strong signal, like what happened with previous flash demonstrations, including the recent one in Warren Park.The opposition, therefore, has limited options because the freedom to demonstrate is only on paper. The democratic space is under lock and key. The reality is that nothing will change unless political gladiators in the country dialogue. ED should also realise that he has tried all he can to work on the economy on his own, and he has failed.His own supporters probably agree on this abysmal failure and also on the fact that all that needed to go wrong since he came to power in 2017 has gone awfully wrong. The only viable solution is thus a roundtable dialogue with the so-called enemies of the State (political rivals)
In a context of selective adherence to lockdown provisions, it seems likely there will be a heavy-handed response, especially if permission is not secured. It need not be so, and the authorities could put in place a more flexible approach that contains the parameters of protest to protect life and property, if and when needed.Sadly, from previous experience it seems unlikely the security forces are equipped to respond with appropriate calibration. This takes Zimbabwe nowhere and reinforces the perception that this administration is not serious about reform. Mnangagwa appears to support a notion of dialogue that is not in accordance with the sort of dialogue that is require
It is within the constitutional rights of the citizens of Zimbabwe to protest, yet consideration has to be made of the current Covid-19 situation. We must be careful that the pandemic situation does not become an excuse to take away citizen rights.As has been stated in other forums, including calls by the South Africa International Relations minister, the two influential political leaders who must engage in dialogue are Nelson Chamisa and ED. This has been Chamisa’s call that he wants to meet ED, yet ED has stuck to Polad, which for all intents and purposes is a body of political nonentities.So, it is up to ED to be magnanimous and engage towards a reduction to end the crisis. Protests are unlikely to end but rather increase as the economic situation continues to worsen