EDITORIAL COMMENT : Groundless protests won’t help Zim economy

Plans by MDC-Alliance and its embedded civic society allies to hold demonstrations today will not help us consolidate the economic recovery efforts that are targeting to put the economy on a sound footing after years of economic hiatus.

All that Zimbabwe needs right now are progressive ideas to drive the nation forward. Protests will not take us anywhere. Latest plans by the MDC-A to demonstrate are unfortunate and retrogressive.

The Second Republic has made tremendous strides to open the democratic space for the opposition to participate and proffer progressive ideas to spur economic development and the adoption of sound policies in every sphere of the economy.

Protests for sake of protest won’t help us in any way. They do not make any sense at all especially now when the opposition party is enjoying democratic space that allows it to engage in robust debate and dialogue with the Government in Parliament, the national dialogue process under the aegis of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) and on numerous other platforms.

Instead of posturing in the useless protests to attract the attention of the forthcoming SADC summit and their main sponsors — Western allies — the MDC-A should avoid piling more misery on the masses. The masses want ideas and solutions that can help improve job creation, incomes, livelihoods and the quality of their living standards.

Demonstrations are quite costly to our struggling economy. They can happen at a huge cost in terms of destruction of property and loss of lives.

Production hours are lost and this does not help our economy in any way. Our nation must deal with contentious issues in a way consonant with our values and showing awareness of the absolute need for economic recovery and improved living standards.

Engaging in protests is a dangerous illusion that will make the MDC-A responsible for any damages to property and loss of lives. It will put a dent to the image of this bankrupt party which is hungry to get into power by any wicked means. The idea that demonstrations can solve the litany of challenges that the country is facing is a dangerous illusion.

Calling for demonstrations is not desirable for Zimbabwe now. The demonstrations will do little to address the real challenges we are facing.

They will only serve to sow seeds of hatred and disunity in the country. Regardless — perhaps because — of its lack of any practical worth, the demos will flop. Government has made concerted efforts to ease fuel and power crisis as well as increasing disposable incomes for civil servants.

We all know that the reforms are painful, but a necessary tool for economic recovery. Well meaning Zimbabweans should not be swayed into believing that the demonstrations will yield anything tangible. The planned demonstrations are a fantasy of the MDC-A to whip up emotions and drive the Government out of power.

We need to respect Zimbabwe’s ideals of political engagement and peace. Keeping that tradition alive means keeping alive peace, tolerance and our democracy.

The MDC-A should see political dialogue and engagement as representing much more of an opportunity than it does a threat. It means, first and foremost, tearing down the walls that divide us as a people.

Protest ignores the structural nature of our problems as a country and efforts being made to address them. Still, Zimbabweans need to ask themselves tough questions about demonstrations. What have protests done for them? Is protest a productive use of our political attention?

Or is it just a bit of social theatre we perform to make ourselves feel virtuous, useful and in the right?

Source : The Herald

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