#Zimbabwe gears up for #FreshStart march
Harare - Thousands of Zimbabweans are expected to ascend on the country's capital, Harare, on Saturday morning calling for leadership that will "relieve the suffering endured" by the nation under President Robert Mugabe.
In a surprise move on Friday, the controlling Zimbabwean military announced that it would would allow a mass march.
In a statement on Friday, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) informed the nation that in respect of freedom of expression and movement it would fully support the march planned for Saturday morning.
"The ZDF is therefore advising the nation that for as long as the planned march remains orderly, peaceful and in tandem with the fundamental bill of rights and within the confines of the country’s constitution and without hate speech and incitement to cause violence, it fully supports the march," the ZDF said.
"The ZDF is also encouraging the march participants to be disciplined and to return to their respective provinces with dignity after the march processions and moreover people have been warned against looting. Consistent with the ongoing operation, the ZDF wishes to advise the nation that steady progress is being made and that there has been no variation at all from their original objectives."
The Zimbabwe solidarity march is reportedly expected to start at 8am at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfields, gathering at 4th Street bus terminus in Harare CBD at around 9am, before moving to the State house.
In a banner circulated on social media messenger application WhatsApp, Zimbabweans are called to “arise Zimbabwe arise” for the march that will start at 10am in Freedom Square in the capital.
"CALLING ON ALL ZIMBABWEANS. Our army has cleared the way for us. Now let us go and make our wishes known. WE WANT A NEW ZIMBABWE AND WE WANT IT NOW," the banner read.
Other marches are reportedly planned worldwide, including in Windhoek, Namibia; Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa; Belfast in Ireland; and London, England.
More details were not immediately available and African News Agency (ANA) could not confirm the marches in other countries.
The military said that it was approached by several private volunteer organisations seeking to "freely move and express their desires", including the solidarity march planned on Saturday in the Highfield of Harare.
Zimbabweans are expected to stream to Harare on Saturday from all corners of the country to march to demand the end of Mugabe's 37-year rule.
Meanwhile, the ZDF, in its statement requested citizens to be patient and said their operation towards peace remained "solid".
"The ZDF has therefore expressed its solidarity and a drive towards a peaceful, united investor friendly and prosperous Zimbabwe. The ZDF also called for concerted efforts from all Zimbabweans to make this happen."
On Wednesday, the ZDF seized control of state television ZBC and said it is acting against “criminals” surrounding 93-year-old Mugabe. At the time, the head of the defence forces, General Constantino Chiwenga, warned the army would take “drastic action” if factions in the ruling Zanu-PF did not stop purges against party members with military backgrounds.African News Agency