Harare – Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has thanked thousands of Zimbabweans for staging a "resoundingly successful" stay away.
According to reports, the southern African country came to a stand still on Wednesday after thousands of Zimbabweans across the country downed tools.
The stay away calls were reportedly made by a social media group named #ThisFlag in order to demand that the government acts on the country's ongoing economic collapse.
Zimbabwe has, in the last months, been hit by shortages of cash, import controls and the failure of the government to pay salaries on time.
In a press statement sent to News24, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said that his party would like to thank Zimbabweans for embarking on a peaceful and democratic stay away.
Gutu said the people of Zimbabwe had spoken in a "very clear and unequivocal" voice on their displeasure over the ongoing economic difficulties.
He further claimed that his party had paved the way for the ongoing unrest after it held "a successful" demonstration throughout the country’s major cities recently.
"We are humbled by the fact that Zimbabweans are now emboldened and strengthened in their desire and clamour for peaceful, democratic change after taking a clue from the three highly successful mass demonstrations that were recently held by the MDC," said Gutu.
He urged the regional body, Southern African Development Community (SADC), to hold a special summit to discuss the deteriorating political and socio-economic situation in the country.
Reiterating his previous calls, Gutu said that the country should hold free and fair elections which would be organised by SADC together with the African Union(AU) and the United Nations(UN).
"These fresh elections should be supervised by SADC, the AU and the UN. It is clear that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is incorrigibly delinquent and severely compromised. ZEC is just but an extension of the collapsing Zanu PF regime and in its current form, it is completely unable and incapable of running a free and fair election," he said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party said that it would not be "shaken" by the involvement of foreign embassies, and opposition parties in the disturbances that had engulfed the country, the state owned Herald newspaper reported.
The party’s secretary for administration Ignatius Chambo said that they were aware that the unrest was sponsored by some elements of the country’s main opposition MDC as well as foreign embassies.
Chombo said that the Zanu-PF-led government would not be shaken, adding that schools and businesses were expected to be operating on Thursday after the country’s security apparatus had been put on high alert.
He further vowed that Zimbabwe's long-time ruler president Robert Mugabe was not going anywhere.
A previous News24 report indicated that military chiefs - together with the heads of the security cluster, which included three cabinet ministers - had met behind closed doors to plan a clampdown on the ongoing protests.
Highly-placed government sources said that the meeting "was a special one to specifically come up with strategies to deal with recent protests and planned ones".