26. May 2016

No millions at million-man march

While thousands walked from different parts of Harare having been dropped off by buses, open trucks and trains, Mugabe weaved his way into the crowd, atop an open truck, as the much-vaunted million-man march turned into a much smaller gathering.

Mugabe, however, was chuffed by the number and the Zanu PF leader led the way by claiming the gathering rivalled his famed 1980 crowd at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, upon his triumphant return from Mozambique.

“I feel little, I feel humbled by this gesture. It is a celebration of the glory that you have accorded us and it has never been done in history. The history of Zanu PF must record this. That the youth league did what we last saw in 1980, when we returned from the war,” he said.

Zanu PF supporters from across the country, gathered at different points, including Rufaro Stadium, Raylton Sports Club, East 24, the National Sports Stadium and adjacent to the South African Embassy before snaking their way to the venue.

Traffic came to a standstill, as the supporters toyi-toyied along the streets of the capital, the situation made easier by that yesterday was a public holiday.

Some did not know why they were in the capital.

“We arrived in Harare at around 6am. We are so excited to have been part of this march, but we haven’t eaten since the time we left our homes,” a Zanu PF chairman from a district in Mt Darwin said.

“We were picked up at 3am from our homes and have just come here in support of the President. We have no idea why, but our leaders just told us he needs us and we have to listen to him speak.”

From Manicaland, another supporter said: “We have not eaten and do not know what to do. Nobody seems to have an idea of how we can get through the day.”

It was the same song across the provinces that attended. Mostly school buses from across the country were used to transport the marchers.

Some fainted, as the heat and hunger took their toll.

As always, hopes for jobs and empowerment lingered in the minds of many.

“I also expect our leaders to touch on problems affecting the country, the promises that were made on job creation and empowerment projects,” another supporter said.

NewsDay witnessed some errant youths being taken into custody by the police for various offences, including possession of dagga.

Youth leader, Kudzai Chipanga and Rural Development minister Abednico Ncube both complained about transport logistics to ferry people from different parts of the country.

“Some people are still on their way as we speak,” Chipanga told Mugabe, way into the event. (News Day, Harare)

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