Blacks, whites, the old and the young have all came together in Harare this Saturday morning braving the chill weather and speaking one language – President Robert Mugabe must go.
Buses and lorries provided by well-wishers were ferrying people from all over the country to the venue of the planned mass rally against the country’s 93-year-old ruler.
Mugabe remains under house arrest after Wednesday’s takeover of power by the military, reportedly refusing to step down.
Hugs between whites and blacks, which are rarely seen in public, were the order of the morning in the central business district as thousands of Zimbabweans joined hands in solidarity with the military for taking over government.
They held placards reading ‘Bob’s not my uncle’, ‘No to Mugabe dynasty’, ‘Make love not war’, ‘Zimbabwe army the voice of the people’, ‘ZANU PF recall back Mugabe’, ‘SADC, AU stay out of Zimbabwe Affairs’, ‘This is the Zimbabwe we want’, ‘Selfless not selfish government’.
And, unlike in the past when the presence of the army on the streets meant that protestors had to run for their lives, this time soldiers are being celebrated while they smile and wave at the demonstrators.
Protest group #ThisFlag appears to be at the centre of the march with nearly a quarter of participants waving the national flag in a show of love for their country and defiance to their oppressors.
Participants believe the battle against the Mugabe regime is already won despite the military having not issued a public statement on how the stand-off with the veteran leader will be resolved.
Mugabe is reportedly resisting pressure from the military generals to step down but matters have now been escalated with his own Zanu PF party declaring no confidence in his leadership and demanding that he leaves office.