Several thousands have staged a rally in Zimbabwe’s capital to voice their support for the country’s long-time president Robert Mugabe.
The Zimbabweans gathered at a central square in Harare on Wednesday to show their loyalty to Mugabe as the president faces growing calls for resignation after ruling the African country for more than 35 years.
“Comrade Mugabe is not sick, people lie,” supporters sang in one song defending the 92-year-old president scheduled to address the crowds later in the day.
Waving small national flags and wearing t-shirts displaying Mugabe’s image, supporters of his ZANU-PF party arrived in Harare by bus, train and truck earlier in the day to attend what organizers had dubbed a “million-man” march.
The photo shows an overview of the people who showed up for the “million-man” march in Harare, Zimbabwe, in support of President Robert Mugabe on May 25, 2016.
The marchers, many of them young, carried placards with messages such as “Youths march in solidarity with the visionary and iconic leadership of President Robert Mugabe,” while others chanted “Forward with President Mugabe.”
“We are here because we love our president. He has done a lot for us. He gave us land and now we are supporting his indigenization program,” a young supporter of Mugabe said, referring to the government’s controversial land reforms to resettle landless blacks and policies that force foreign firms to transfer most of their shares to locals.
“Our president has the people at heart and we support that a lot,” said a housewife and supporter of his Zanu-PF party, adding, “We are happy that we are marching for our president to prevent the opposition from distracting the country’s leader.”
Young supporters of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe cheer in a march in the capital, Harare, to support the veteran leader, May 25, 2016. (AFP photo)
The rally came nearly one month after thousands of supporters of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party attended a demonstration in Harare calling for Mugabe’s resignation. The opposition says Mugabe has failed to properly address issues such as economic decline, mass unemployment and emigration in Zimbabwe while accusations have been high about repression of dissent and vote-rigging during his tenure.
Mugabe, who appears regularly in public, has ruled Zimbabwe since the nation’s independence in 1980. He has promised that he will run again for presidency in 2018.
The veteran president often blames the West for Zimbabwe’s troubles.