Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Don’t mistake benevolence for progress

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This week started out with a few small signs of hope. Two public demonstrations were staged, with no arrests. According to a WOZA statement, on  Monday, “over 1,000 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise marched through the streets of Bulawayo, to articulate their demands to the power sharing government.” And according to SW Radio Africa, on Tuesday, “Law Society of Zimbabwe held a peaceful demonstration in the streets of Harare to protest continuing harassment of members of the legal fraternity.” – This despite the fact that the police had previously banned the march. In both cases, the police watched the demonstrations, but no arrests were made.

Surprised by this, we sent out the following text message on Wednesday:

Kubatana! Inclusive govt may be opening up democratic space. 2 successful demonstrations this week with no arrests. WOZA in BYO Monday and lawyers in HRE Tues.

One enthusiastic subscriber replied: “Ah, ko lets march to state house w a petition 4 bob 2 step down muone mashura mtHarare! kana kuenda kuRBZ 4 gono 2 go! Tinofa (or go to the Reserve Bank and tell Gono to go. We’re dying.)”

But Fambai was less convinced: “Kubatana puhleeze, what democratic space? Honestly we cant b celebrating the false benevolence of bloodthirsty riot police not using their baton sticks!”

Good point Fambai! Clearly two zero-arrest-demonstrations do not a happy democracy make. So. Is there any genuine change in the works, or is this all the same crocodile, just conveniently disguising itself for a bit?

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