Mugabe’s end nears as Zimbabweans beg military to remove him

Thousands gathered in Harare on Saturday to demand President Robert Mugabe’s resignation.

Al-Jazeera quoted the crowd as saying: “Chiwenga, lead the war to remove Mugabe”, referring to General Constantino Chiwenga, who had warned of military intervention before the takeover.

Protesters attempted to reach State House, but presidential guards blocked access.

A general later appealed to the crowds to go home and not to proceed “because we will finish the job”.

“The operation we are doing together as a country is a journey,” Major General Sibusiso Moyo told those attending the rally.

“We cannot go around the mountain in one day, but through your support we have covered a great distance,” he added in Shona.

The protesters said they were confident their goal to remove Mugabe would be achieved soon.

“Just the amount of people, the different backgrounds and races that came out, showed that we all agreed today,” Anesu Dawa, a 26-year-old unemployed graduate.

“Everybody came out just to say it’s not necessarily what we want to happen, but it’s what we don’t want to happen – and that is for President Mugabe to still be president. And we all agreed today that he must go”, she added.

Simultaneous demonstration took place at City Hall in Bulawayo, another city.

Large crowds raised banners with slogans such as: “Go, go, our general!”, “Enough is enough – Mugabe must go” and “Leadership is not sexually transmitted” – a reference to First Lady Grace Mugabe.

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Florence Mguni, a 59-year-old told Al Jazeera that as a war veteran, she demands Mugabe’s immediate resignation because his leadership has done little for her.

“We went to fight in the war, I was taught how to hold a gun as a young girl, but today Zimbabwe is free and I am poor. I’m a widow and my children aren’t in school because I can’t always afford to pay their fees,” she said.

Tapiwa Magidi, a 32-year-old geologist, said Mugabe should resign because the 93-year-old leader was not serving young people.

“We are a lost generation. Most of the young people in this country were born after independence, but we are now grown and we don’t have much.”

“We can’t get jobs, we have to live at home with our parents and we can’t even afford to get married.”

Tapiwa Tavaziva, a 32-year-old financial adviser, said: “I spent 12 years out of this country because of Mugabe and the situation in this country.”

“He’s been responsible for so many things that have happened to people in their personal lives, he broken up so many homes, family structures are broken and we don’t have what we used to because he (Mugabe) loves power. He has to go.”

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