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Friday, 9 March 2012

We are not Stone Throwers Mr Prime Minister

Too comfortable-MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai too
comfortable to engage the streets

By Blessing Vava
In the previous weeks I wrote an article on my blog, headlined; A pen alone cannot  remove Mugabe and ZANU PF from power,’ a controversial piece which did not go down well with some MDC fanatics. My argument was that it will not be easy for Robert Mugabe and his party ZANU PF to cede power easily after losing an election. In the same line i suggested that in that case the MDC should be prepared to flood the streets and force Mugabe and his cabal out like what we have witnessed in other progressive African countries. Some critics argued that Zimbabweans are streets shy and are afraid of being crushed if they engage the streets. But in any case wherever in the world a violent response and resistance should be expected when you challenge a dictatorship.  But that should not deter citizens who want to free themselves from a dictatorship government that does not respect democratic processes like the one we have in Zimbabwe.  

Radical-File photo of Tsvangirai during his
days at the ZCTU
 If there is serious coordination and mobilisation no sane   Zimbabwean would not want to join a march that wants Mugabe out. Mugabe has become a liability to this country and no one wants him anymore. Change is something that is difficult to accept. And all dictators use fear amongst citizens as a weapon to stay in power. How they fear an organised citizenry and that’s the reason why ZANU PF crafted laws like POSA which bars a certain number of people to gather and also that you have to report any meeting to the police prior to its conduct. Do you think that if a million Zimbabweans are to march to state house today his security forces will open fire? NO I doubt that very much. Even in the late 90s when civic society groups namely the workers and students engaged the streets demanding better wages, salaries and a new constitution the regime succumbed to such pressure. Mugabe is different from Gaddafi he will never open fire to protesters unless he now suffers a mental problem. He is one man who thrives on fear using his intelligence officers and not direct violent response like that of Gaddafi.

So my argument that a mass protest to force Mugabe out is so far one of the best options  if he fails  to accept a defeat in the elections.  In that regard I however found remarks attributed to Morgan Tsvangirai in today’s Herald titled ‘I’m not a revolutionary:  Tsvangirai,’ quite disturbing. The story is based on an interview Mr Tsvangirai had with BBC while in South Africa. He suggests that the struggle is in three phases, one that of throwing stones, secondly the negotiations-GPA and lastly transition. He further suggests that the era of throwing stones is now over, literally translated he is saying he will not engage the streets anymore and that now it’s time for transition from ZANU PF to MDC.  Mr Prime Minister are you saying that during those years when you led millions of workers protesting about their rights, better living conditions and a new constitution you were a stone thrower? Mr Tsvangirai should be careful when using symbolism because  he faces the danger of being quoted and misinterpreted to ZANU's expedience.

Throwing stones might have different meanings, to me stone throwing was a game that we used to play in the rural areas when we were herding cattle. This was usually done at the river. It is also usually associated with student confrontational politics without any worry about the consequences. We were never stone throwers all those Zimbabweans you led during your time in the labour union are not and were not stone throwers but serious and responsible citizens who protested for better living and working  conditions in a Zimbabwe that is governed properly. So if surely what he said to the BBC reporter  are his own words then its rather unfortunate for Tsvangirai to suggest that he was a stone thrower.

ZANU PF, though unpopular are a serious political party who have mastered the art of not accepting results of elections when they have lost. Zimbabweans last voted freely for ZANU PF in 1995 and since then they have been manipulating the electoral processes in their favour so that they continue ruling. Again they will lose the next elections but it won’t be surprising to see them controlling the key components of the state. The MDC should wake up in its slumber and engage the common man in the streets if they are to take over from ZANU PF.

The question is what will the MDC do in the event that ZANU PF does not accept a defeat in the elections? They have already indicated that the streets, negotiations have passed and we are now in transition, we are yet to see if we are indeed going to transcend.  They continue falling in ZANU PF’s silly traps, how they were duped into entering a unity government which initially was said to be a power sharing only to realise that they had ‘imaginary’ powers. Even now they were made to believe that we are in a transition, a transition to where? We are not in a transition ZANU PF is just buying time and they are not going anywhere. Zvazviri!