By Albert Nxumalo
The Movement for Democratic Change youth assembly leadership has again vowed to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa before the next general elections in 2023 by staging systematic street protests countrywide.
In the past weeks, the newly elected leadership has collectively been threatening to occupy the streets from June but no single protest has been waged.
This has cast doubt on their capacity and genuineness to execute the threats.
The opposition youth leaders argue that President Mnangagwa is an illegitimate leader who “stole” July 30, 2018, general elections from Nelson Chamisa and should, therefore, step down and allow for fresh polls before completing his five-year term, which ends in 2023.
Speaking at a Day of African Child belated commemorations on Sunday in Bulawayo, National Youth Chairman Obey Sithole said he was giving “a signal but not inciting street protests” which he said are geared at removing President Mnangagwa.
“We have to ready ourselves for action. It is our responsibility to do that. Zanu PF must be ready to meet us. They can say they will crush us, but we are ready,” said Sithole.
Sithole dared President Mnangagwa and the security sector that threats to suppress any protest would not succeed.
“I am giving you a signal to be ready for action. Mnangagwa and Zanu PF cannot kill or arrest all of us.
“Streets and prison halls will become our second homes. No one is pushing us to the streets, its only hunger, suffering, corruption”.
The youth wing insists that prices of basic commodities which continue to skyrocket daily, while shortages have become commonplace are forcing them to launch protests.
Power cuts, unemployment, poor social services delivery, fuel shortages, shortages of medical drugs, food and many other problems are worsening.
Annual inflation for May rose to 97,85%, up 21,99 percentage points on the April rate of 75,86%.
However, President Mnangagwa and his ministers, including those in charge of Home Affairs and Defence Cain Mathema and Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri respectively, have warned they would not hesitate to crush any mass anti-government demonstrations by the MDC and its allies over the deteriorating economic conditions.
Government has recently acquired an assortment of deadly arms and ammunition to boost its arsenal to quell protests.
The movement’s Secretary General Gift Siziba weighed in saying they would not wait for 2023 general elections to oust President Mnangagwa.
In terms of Section 97 of the constitution, a president can be removed from office for serious misconduct, failure to obey, uphold or defend the constitution, willful violation of the constitution or inability to perform his duties because of physical or mental incapacity.
“Pass this message to ZANU PF that it must know that the youth assembly is coming for them.
“For us young people asiyi ku 2023. Mnangagwa, (Vice Presidents) Kembo Mohadi and Chiwenga should know this too,” said Siziba.
The possibility of talks between President Mnangagwa and Chamisa to resolve issues around the disputed elections, political legitimacy and economic problems is running thin.
President Mnangagwa is already holding dialogue through the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) meetings, which Chamisa has boycotted.
Chamisa maintains that he will not come to the negotiating table for political dialogue until there are inclusive consultations and properly designed talks process preceded by a root-cause analysis of the problem.
On the other hand, President Mnangagwa insists he would not force anyone into dialogue with him.