By Staff reporter
MDC Masvingo Provincial Assembly Chairperson, James Gumbi, misled Masvingo residents about the prohibition order issued by the police on the party’s planned demonstration.
The MDC Masvingo demonstrations had been scheduled for the 21st of this month. However, police issued a prohibition ban against the demonstration.
Gumbi and a team of party activists moved around the oldest city on 20 August, a day before the scheduled date, encouraging vendors and other residents to participate in the demonstrations. They were carrying placards with messages that denounced government.
Gumbi addressed the people at every township, assuring them of their safety, saying Masvingo was the only province that got police approval to proceed with demonstrations. However, residents could be heard shouting that they were tired of being used by politicians for their selfish ends.
“This Gumbi is taking us for fools who can’t even read. We read in the newspapers that this demonstration was banned. Either way, which fool would risk his life by defying the order? We also saw what happened in Harare and personally I wouldn’t want to recklessly invite same on me,” said Sam Shoko from Mucheke D.
A vendor at Garikai Market, Mavis Chinoera said demonstrations were expensive to indigenous business people like her.
“Time is precious my brother, a day that I close my business to participate in the demonstrations is wasted for good. I will never recover the revenue that I would have lost on that particular day. Demonstrations only work for those who are employed as they can afford to be absent and still get a full pay,” said Chinoera.
The demonstrations had seriously divided the Masvingo assembly with some provincial executive members openly opposing the protests saying they were not yielding desired results. Gumbi himself was of the opinion that resources earmarked for the demonstrations should be channelled towards the two by-elections in the province.
Sources said Gumbi was under pressure from Chamisa to make sure that the demonstration is a success with or without police clearance. Chamisa reportedly said Gumbi must follow what Harare did – demonstrating without police approval. The source said the MDC leader was going to summon every provincial leader to explain why they failed to defy the ban as Harare Assembly did. It is reported that some chairperson will be recalled as Chamisa takes advantage to place his loyal crew at the helm of provincial assemblies.