MASVINGO – The anti-Mugabe sentiments sweeping across the country's cities have reached Gutu and Zaka districts with protests being led by the '#Zimbabwe Yadzoka/ Mayibuye iZimbabwe' pressure group.
#Zimbabwe Yadzoka is part of the #Tajamuka/Sesijikile group which is heaping pressure on President Robert Mugabe to step down over government's failed economic policies.
#Zimbabwe Yadzoka/ Mayibuye iZimbabwe coordinator, Victor Chimhutu said they are fighting to destroy fear among rural people.
"#Zimbabwe Yadzoka/ Mayibuye iZimbabwe has managed to set structures in Gutu and Zaka. People are scared of attending our meetings because of the violence that the ruling regime is known for. We have received overwhelming support in other communities and people not afraid to speak out.
"Our meetings are held at night. We do pungwes (night vigils) as they have a special place in the struggle for people's freedom. The vigils are also full of song and dance. You can tell people are ready for their freedom," Chimhutu said.
He disclosed that #Zimbabwe Yadzoka/ Mayibuye iZimbabwe movement is non-partisan and is getting the message across using fliers, graffiti and branded t-shirts.
"These messages are also written in local languages for better understanding. #Zimbabwe Yadzoka/ Mayibuye iZimbabwe is non-partisan. It's simply a call for rural folk to fight for their God-given rights as enshrined in the Zimbabwean constitution. We don't attack the ordinary Zanu PF membership but we ask Mugabe to respectfully leave office," Chimhutu said.
He urged fellow activists to stand their ground in face of police attacks.
"I have always been an activist myself and I was arrested a couple of times. Activism is a field we know is dangerous but it has to be done for our people to be free. We went to areas like Uzumba, Macheke, Murewa and I think you know this is a lion's den but we are not afraid!
"We have missed so many opportunities because our people in rural areas have been afraid for too long so activists should not fear the police and remain steadfast in pressuring Mugabe to go. We condemn police violence against peaceful protestors," he added.
Speaking from his hospital bed in the Avenues Clinic, National Vendors Association of Zimbabwe leader, Stern Zvorwadza said involving rural folk in peaceful activism was a step towards regaining freedom.
"This is good for the country because rural communities have been the slowest in expressing displeasure against the failed government. We call for unity among protestors everywhere.
"We have launched #This Flower campaign where we offer flowers as a token of peace to the police and army officers. This shows we are not for war as we believe that violence is counter-productive. Nothing should stop Masvingo and those in rural areas from handing over flowers to friends in the security sector," Zvorwadza said.
He said attacks on him by riot police will not stop him from holding more protests.
"I am in pain from the beating but if doctors here allow me, I would go out and protest. I want to urge police to stop beating protestors simply because they cannot find charges to lay against them as is my case right now.
"The more they strike me, the more I am motivated to fight the repressive system," Zvorwadza said.news