I’ve just gotten an email from ZINASU – Zimbabwe’s national students union – calling for a national students’ stay away beginning March 5th. We’ve had so many strikes recently, I’m left wondering why there hasn’t been a convergence of all this discontent? Something like the mother of all strikes – a National People’s Strike. Also, what is and where is, the response from civil society to the Mugabe regime’s banning of public rallies and demonstrations?
Zimbabwe continues to experience the inability of civic leaders and political organizers to unify and bring greater pressure on the ruling party even when there is ripe opportunity to do so.
One of the best aspects of my job is getting to read correspondence from Zimbabweans from all walks of life. And often we get suggestions from members of the general public that are both creative and useful. For example, Impi wrote in recently saying
It may be of interest to start collecting/producing a mass of Zimbabwe flags to use in street and other protests. There can be nothing uglier than seeing a national police force or army acting/shooting upon people bearing the National Flag.
Then Lionel wrote to us on the same issue, this time suggesting
If we are to approach the oppressors in any way we should walk with a Bible in our hands, maybe the Koran too and see their reactions. If there is any retaliation of any kind then we truly know there is no hope of resolving our crisis peacefully which is what we are trying to do.
I’ve just read Chenjerai Hove’s article, Inside the mind of a dictator, published in the Mail & Guardian. Among many other issues, he commented on Mugabe’s isolation
Mugabe’s loss of his grasp on reality is based on decades of seclusion from Zimbabwean life. From the enclosure of voluntary exile in Ghana, he returned and went into the enclosure of prison for ten years. On his release, he escaped to the seclusion of Mozambique before returning to another prison – a vast motorcade from which he sees only the citizens and the streets through tinted glass.
And in some ways I wonder whether the political opposition and civil society in Zimbabwe isn’t guilty of this as well. How often do our civic and political leaders genuinely (not cosmetically) poll their constituents for their opinions and their input on resolving our political crisis, or what tactics to use in confronting oppression? Too seldom for my liking.
I’ve just seen a notification of a public event being organized by the Mass Public Opinion Institute of Zimbabwe and I liked their reminder
Could it be that public opinion is “the missing link” in the democracy debate in Zimbabwe, and indeed, in Africa today?