Former MDC-T vice president, Obert Gutu, has condemned calls for anti-corruption protests being championed by Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume, a former MDC Alliance principal, saying demonstrations in the midst of a pandemic puts people’s lives at risk.
Gutu told ZBC News that even though the freedom to protest peacefully is enshrined in the national charter, the proponents for mass protests should consider the risk posed by the novel coronavirus. He said:
Yes, freedom to protest peacefully is enshrined in the constitution, but it will be unfortunate for those in their capacity as leaders to mobilise people to demonstrate especially taking into consideration the rise in cases of the COVID-19.
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There is a presidential decree in line with WHO guidelines to avoid the spread of the pandemic but going against it will not help but expose people to unnecessary risk and death.
Ngarivhume, other political and social activists and some clerics have called for nationwide protests on 31 July to force the government to deal with corruption which has becomes institutionalised.
While the main opposition, the MDC Alliance, has spoken in support of the planned protests, the ruling ZANU PF party says they are a ploy to destabilise the country.