Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Don’t agonise, organise!

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Back in January 2005 our electronic activism campaign featured MISA’s Advocacy Campaign Model as a tool to help us in our advocacy and organizing work.

Just lately in Zimbabwe we’ve seen a couple of events and campaigns launched in what appears to be a haphazard manner without due consideration to the many elements that go into making protests and campaigns successful.

I’m not too sure what you think, but 50 women turning out for a protest in downtown Harare doesn’t give me much confidence that the organizers did their best to reach out and communicate with their constituencies and in so doing build as much support as possible. Take a look at this report which comments on the recent WiPSU protest.

And then there’s been the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. I got an email recently from the Save Zimbabwe Campaign Task Force with the title line “Save Zimbabwe in Five Minutes”. If only it were that easy! The Save Zimbabwe Campaign emailed a flyer asking Zimbabweans to make a noise during lunchtime – either hoot your horn, whistle, clap your hands, bang pots and so on.

VOA’s Studio 7 reported on the dismal uptake of this campaign, saying

The less-than-impressive results of protests called in the past two weeks by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a coalition of civic organizations and opposition parties have raised doubts as to the effectiveness of the ad hoc opposition organization.

It leaves me wondering how well the Save Zimbabwe Campaign Task Force communicated, lobbied and encouraged participation in the lunch time make a noise protests. It has shades of hastily pulled together stayaways, which always flop because the organizers just don’t get the fact that you can’t snap your fingers, or send out a few flyers and emails and expect your idea to take flight.

More worrying of course is the intimation that

Differences of opinion over the strategy had emerged within the organizational membership of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign (Studio 7′s report)

Wouldn’t it be great if civil society could agree on something, anything? Even a lunchtime “make a noise” campaign!

Another aspect worth commenting on is the language used in the resistance movement in Zimbabwe. The Save Zimbabwe Campaign should know that we don’t want to “cry” for freedom, we want to SHOUT for it. Nor is our noise a symbol of our “distress” it is a symbol of our DEFIANCE.

Again, we make available online the Advocacy Campaign Model which should be used as an integral tool when organizing events and campaigns.

Please click here.

2 comments to “Don’t agonise, organise!”

  1. Comment by kubatanablogs.net » Blog Archive » Tough talk, no action:

    [...] It appears that the MDC is banking on two things to “save Zimbabwe”. One is the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. I found it rather disheartening to read that the leader of our largest opposition party is “pinning his hopes” on a seemingly fictitious coalition of civic organizations acting under the rather worn out name of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. What does this say about Tsvangirai’s vision of his own political party and their ability to seriously challenge Mugabe? Of course whilst I completely agree that its time that pro-democracy forces within civil society support the MDC’s call for political change, I wonder what exactly about the Save Zimbabwe Campaign gives Tsvangirai all this hope and confidence? Have you had the opportunity to meet the leaders of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign? Have they encouraged your participation in the formulation of civic campaigns? Have you attended one of their events? Do you know how and where to contact them if you wanted to get involved and find out more? [...]

  2. Comment by John Fulton:

    Morgan Tsvangirai is behaving as though he is already ensconced in State House, bar the physical move. For him to believe his ticket to success in next years elections is via support from civil organisations et al, and without the Mutambara group, is indeed grossly naive and a pointer to traces of arrogance. It should be known that the coalition agreement drawn up between the split parties, an effort primarily driven by Tsvangirai’s scribes in an attempt to bring the two groups together, is oddly rejected by Tsvangirai himself. Given this, and the fundamental fact that the current MDC status quo is a guarantee of an holistic election loss, moves are underway to strongly petition the two groups to agree to disagree, but re-unite as one party for for the sake of the future of Zimbabwe, and not for the sake of what glory hunter gets what position of power should the MDC win the election. Divided, there would be no point in an election. Failure by the two groups to summarily set their differences aside, it is planned that a call to boycott voting for each group of the MDC will be put in place. Seems the MDC have no choice really, particularly a seemingly immovable Tsvangirai, who must learn that the country comes first, not the company.