Elliot Ziwira Senior Writer
When individuals call for demonstrations they should be guided by the collective import of their actions. Individual rights should not be seen to be impinging on the rights of others, for democracy has a way of exhibiting elements of tyranny.
Demonstrations are not new, neither could they be a thing of the past; in so-called democracies interested parties will always call for them with good intentions or otherwise, but they are never known to produce any tangibles. In most cases they leave trails of destruction, animosity, despondency, frustration and regret.
The history of opposition in Zimbabwe cannot be read in the absence of demonstrations, for protest as an expression of unfulfilled promises, impatience and outright anger at desires gone awry, is well articulated in our culture.
Women were known to express their anger, aspirations and lack of satisfaction in one way or the other through protest music, poetry and in extreme cases by baring their backsides nay undergarments. Society always accepted different ways of expressing discontent, provided that such expression of disgruntlement was well-intentioned and did not encroach on the rights of others.
There were times, however, that protest could only aggravate situations, instead of mitigating them, especially when it involved baring of nether regions in the presence of consanguineous relations and/or in-laws. In such instances the moral law of decency would then apply, the reason why such expressions of discontent are no longer in vogue.
There is always need to draw the line in the sand as a marker of expectable limit; and there has always been that need no matter how aggrieved one is.
It is not surprising, however, that the MDC- Alliance continues to believe that demonstrations are the solution to our challenges as a nation; because the opposition outfit came to being through violent protests.
Zimbabweans have not forgotten the riots of January 19-23, 1998, which left seven people dead, and thousands of innocent citizens smarting from massive losses due to looting and violence. This culture of riotous behaviour is traceable to the same people and organisations that continue to clamour for the so-called change through violent demonstrations. Student activism refuses to ebb in the grown, yet immature men in our opposition politics.
Buoyed by violence and the warped belief that citizens were apt for change, the Movement for Democratic Change under the wing of the trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, took to the political stage in 1999, and since then has been causing havoc through calculated manoeuvres meant to usher in a new era of puppetry through violent demonstrations.
Seeking political office through the backdoor reeks of selfish individualistic tendencies, which pervades Zimbabwean politics; and the opposition has perfected the art of political chicanery to boot. Calling for demonstrations, whether sanctioned or unsanctioned, is not what the country needs at the moment. Protests by their nature serve no purpose, especially when the reasons for them are not clearly articulated through a shared vision that facilitates nationhood.
Yes, it may be constitutional to express displeasure by exposing our nakedness for all and sundry to gloat over, but at the end of the day it remains us and our nudity, in the rheumy eyes of a world too blind to even take notice.
If shame doesn’t mean anything to a people, then the word should be given new meaning, for there is no better way of picking up the pieces of a semblance of humanity than self-expression of ignominy.
The MDC-Alliance publicly claimed responsibility for the protests the opposition outfit thought would play into their agenda of subverting a constitutionally elected Government with the support of their Western handlers.
Playing god, and the Holy Grail that citizens yearn for, for a change of outcomes from the quagmire that they have been thrown into for some time now, courtesy of the same masquerades of democracy, Nelson Chamisa projects himself as a super hero.
He believes he has the solution to our problems, but if he does have them, then, he should offer himself for “peaceful constructive dialogue”, which President Mnangagwa has always called for. The President extended an open and welcoming hand to Chamisa before and after the harmonised elections of July 30, 2018, which he won, and continues to do so in the spirit of oneness for the good of our nation, but the opposition leader, despite losing at the ballot, spurned it, and continues to do so, insinuating that he would wait for the wheels to come off before joining the peace wagon.
If he has Zimbabweans at heart, Chamisa should dismount his high horse in supposition and desist from behaving like a teaser Chihuahua, knowing that his handlers will come to the party. We are suffering, yes; we are burdened, it is true, but for Chamisa and his clueless outfit to ride on that smacks of hypocrisy and grandstanding.
Despite the issuance of a prohibition order by the police, and the subsequence upholding of such by the High Court, riotous ignoramuses hollering for attention like always rowdily took to the streets in Harare on Friday last week, albeit in their paltry numbers, to demonstrate; for who and against who, one wonders! For the cameras? That much is known.
There are always cameras galore from every nook of the globe when these hoodlums take to the streets for their show, a show nonetheless without citizen sanction. This time around there were more than cameras, but Geneve Comite International (International Committee of the Red Cross) personnel, ready for any sight of anticipated blood and prospects for bloodbaths. But there was no blood, neither were there any “massacres”, with the police playing their mandatory role of upholding the peace, and nothing can take away the good stead that law enforcement agents exhibited to that end. Those caught on the wrong side of the law should not cry foul when it suits them. An illegality is simply an illegality, period!
These so-called peaceful demonstrations stink of disgusting greenbacks, issuing from a long and ugly hand anchored in foreign capitals bent on creating chaos, knowing that chaos is a breadbin for some among us. They thrive on suffering, the suffering of countrymen, therefore, they can stop at nothing in propagating misery for their selfish gain.
But Zimbabweans are not gullible imbibers of toxic vomit spewing from social media goblets, and cannot be used to prolong their misery through lining others’ pockets, and playing into the hands of gangsters masquerading as politicians and human rights defenders. It is in the nature of such pretenders to cry wolf from vintage points on the highest of hills and secure caves.
The message is clear from the flopped demonstrations in Harare and Bulawayo that citizens have come of age, and refuse to be used by charlatans claiming to be holding the talismanic grail required to take them to that Golden Future Time. Robbing innocent families of their daily bread in the name of human rights is a violation of the same. Pretending to speak for the people whose voices are gagged by the same apparatus purporting to amplify their muffled cries is the worst form of betrayal, and it is this that Zimbabweans should be wary of, and guard against.
Demonstrations, in whatever disguise, are counter-productive, and puke in the face of the same rights they ostensibly represent.
Having travelled the railroad before, and wiser now to the existence of highwaymen that lay in wait to deny them passage to the gravy bowl, peace-loving and hardworking Zimbabweans know better than joining circus trains headed nowhere.
Our fragile economy can ill-afford destructive demonstrations, even for a single day; they take us nowhere; they rob us of milestones already set for a collective haul forward. We need each other, for we are because all of us are!