Edinah Masanga| So, Patson Dzamara and his partner in protest, Sten Zvorwadza were beaten up by police for orchestrating the #munhuwesemuroad demo. Like we didn’t know that was going to happen.
To tell you the truth, I am now tired of these populist protests. To me, it appears that the people who are organising these protests are doing so for their own publicity. There is a phrase for that limelight-hogging.
I say so because these so called protest leaders, seem to have no other strategy other than to appear in newspaper headlines and Facebook posts of people feeling sorry for them (also called sympathy mining) and frankly, every time when the social media fever around them dies down, they start arranging another protest. I’ve had it with them seriously!
I am a journalist and I know, and apparently they do too, that prominence is news. And I’m beginning to doubt the sincerity of the people leading protests in Zimbabwe for the simple reason that they seem not to make an effort to explore other forms of resistance which would not have them hogging newspaper headlines.
My views here will most likely attract wrath but to be honest, we know that Zanu PF has no incentive to refrain from violence and thus street protest will meet the utmost violence. Normally a regime would not want to be violent because they will, for instance, be wary of repercussions such as sanctions, which Zanu PF already has, and in addition, it has no reputation to protect therefore they will crush any form of street protest violently. Under the circumstances, you may want to explore other non-violent means of resistance. Or explore other strategies. Otherwise you get people killed for no meaningful result.
Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF are probably the only dissident party masquerading as a government in all of Africa. No doubt about that. Zanu PF is a party of dissidents. They are most qualified in violence. So, as much as people argue that the only means to confront Zanu PFis the street protests, there is need to actually start thinking strategically on other ways to confront this brutal regime.
In a dictatorship like Zimbabwe we must guard against protesting just for the sake of protesting. Let’s begin with the end in mind. What do we want to achieve with this particular protest, how can we carry out this particular protest. These are pertinent questions to ask before we go out into the streets.
In any struggle, there are people who are prepared to die for the struggle, and that’s commendable, but the thing is why don’t we try to bring the regime to its knees by striking where it will hurt them the most? It’s not a secret that most of the businesses that are running in Zimbabwe are owned by Zanu bigwigs. We could start by boycotting them, for example – all I’m saying is we have to be strategic in our thinking and confrontation of the regime. Because the goal of the protest must not be to generate publicity only, it must be to force the brutal government to the negotiating table but that is mostly possible in a democratic state.
And therefore what is notable in the current protest is the fact that the organisers seem to like the idea of just gathering people and generating fracas (and news headlines) but they don’t seem to realise that in so doing they provide an opportunity for Zanu PF to unleash violence and further instil fear into the citizens of Zimbabwe. With every action you have to be careful if in the end you will not actually help the enemy. If we keep going into the streets just for the sake of going into the streets, we will help Zanu PF to send a message to the general populace that they are a heavy handed indestructible party.
Evan Mawarire, who proved to be a sell out in the end, had taken the regime to task. He had devised a good non-violent way to confront the regime, he was charismatic and smooth talking, the people loved him but in the end it turned out, according to him, he recorded the videos as a buddy thing after his friend Lumumba had done his dig deeper videos.
Zimbabwe we have to start scrutinizing the people who purport to lead us otherwise if we just run after anyone who purports to be fighting for us, then we risk working against ourselves. Don’t give Zanu PF cheap victories you all.
Edinah Masanga is a Zimabwean journalist based in Sweden. She can be contacted on all social media as @EdinahMasanga.