Analysts react to anti-Mugabe demonstration - CNBC Africa

Analysts react to anti-Mugabe demonstration

Southern Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

PHOTO: Wikipedia

The Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai's march attracted thousands of Zimbabweans on Thursday demanding answers for the missing US 15 billion dollars.

President Robert Mugabe revealed that almost 15 billion US dollars from diamonds revenue has disappeared.

The admission by Mugabe last month has raised concerns over the 92-year-old leader’s fitness to continue as the head of state as well as giving Tsvangirai, the firebrand opposition leader a chance to re-position himself ahead of the next elections.

The demonstration that caught Mugabe and Zanu PF by surprise received the usual attacks from the country’s fragile leader’s loyalists.

Rashweat Mukundu, political analyst says a modest number participated in the demonstration.

"This was possibly the start of direct confrontation that Zanu-PF could have been planning and working on disrupting," he said. 

"Zanu-PF unfortunately can put more people out and beyond the marches we are not sure what the MDC plans next."

Clever Bere, an activist and former student leader weighed in saying the demonstration was a clear indication of people being tired with Mugabe’s system.

“Things are tough here- hence it’s ripe for mass mobilisation/ protests. From what I am hearing, there wasn’t much of renting the crowd which is a good thing,” he added. Zimbabwe’s ruling party has been accused in the past of renting crowds as a way of demonstrating political capital.

Maxwell Saungweme, a political analyst said Tsvangirai remains the strongest opposition leader thus far.

“Generally our opposition is weak and fractured, but MDC-T is the strongest of pack, and Tsvangirai is the strongest of the weak opposition leaders. Tsvangirai has more support than all others and this demonstration was a clear show of his popularity and ability to mobilise people for a common cause,” he said.

Saungweme added that, the fact that Tsvangirai led the protest from the front also strengthens him as all can see that there is still an opposition leader with the guts to stand against the system in a serious manner.


“The current state of affairs - decomposing economy, and collapse of social services were also important variables in people coming out in numbers at this mass protest. But for this to translate into wrestling power and getting to State House, more is required,” he added.

“Depth in terms of policies is needed, effective diplomacy is required, not to talk of intelligence and the ability to infiltrate and influence the military and security structures that manipulate polls. He needs to develop from the mass support an effective system to reclaim the people’s vote when stolen. In short, you can’t rule him out, but more is required than just mobilising masses.”

Political analyst Gideon Chitanga said the turnout was massive with numbers, he estimated, between 10,000 and 12,000.

“While intimidation has temporarily contained protests it looks like we are likely to see more demonstrations against Mugabe and Zanu-PF,” he said.

“The MDC-T is very much connected with its constituencies and Morgan Tsvangirai remains the most popular political leader in Zimbabwe. Significantly it means that any possible coalition of opposition political parties will have to crystalline around Tsvangirai and the MDC-T.”

Whether this is the beginning of yet another chapter in the Southern African nation, only time will tell.