Zimbabweans in Namibia join anti-Mugabe protest

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Emmency Nuukala

Windhoek-An unprecedented demonstration involving hundreds of thousands of people in Harare on Saturday demanding that long-time President Robert Mugabe cede power immediately resonated with hundreds of Zimbabwean traders and expatriates based in Namibia, who on Saturday made similar demands to their embassy in Windhoek.

During the peaceful demonstration here on Saturday over 400 protesters wrapped in the colours of their country’s flag and singing revolutionary songs were among millions displaced from their country by what they say are economic hardships brought on by the misrule of Mugabe.

They handed over a petition to Zimbabwe Ambassador to Namibia Rofina Chikava and called on SADC, the AU and the UN to allow the people of Zimbabwe to solve their own problems.

This came in response to what long-suffering Zimbabweans regard as the ineffectiveness of these continental bodies that they accuse of having been “soft” on Mugabe, despite his dictatorial traits, his pathetic human rights record and having reduced a once-thriving economy to a basket case.

Honest Wadzivagonda, a Zimbabwean resident in Namibia who read out the petition, emphasised that “The Zimbabwe Defence Force is made up of Zimbabweans and the army takeover, although not ideal, is indeed Zimbabweans fixing their problems themselves.”

He listed their grievances and called on Mugabe to step down, saying the aging leader had done enough damage to their country and destroyed the dreams of too many people. They gave Mugabe until yesterday to step down, saying failure to do so would be going against the wishes of the people he led for nigh on four decades.
The protesters also thanked President Hage Geingob and the Namibian people for allowing them to gather peacefully and for good neighbourliness, hospitality and comradeship.

“We appeal to your leadership and together with your SADC colleagues to encourage President Mugabe to listen to the will of the people of Zimbabwe and to step down peacefully,” they said.

In a solidarity message read by Dr Lovemore Matipira he said they were gathered for a historic event in solidarity with the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe, who were gathered like their compatriots in Washington, London, Perth, Harare, and around the world to demand an end to the Mugabe regime.

“We recognise the different political dispensations that exist in Zimbabwe and seek to peel off the divide, such that we leave much more space for constructive dialogue amongst us towards the revitalisation of the economy and the reconstruction of Zimbabwe,” Matipira said.

Ambassador Chikava acknowledged receipt of the petition and assured her compatriots that she would forward their message to Harare via the right channels.

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