By Tinashe Zvakasikwa.
As a Zimbabwean living in South Africa I just thought that I cannot ignore this and just have to pass my comment on the happening back home. Tomorrow, the 6th of July 2016, I understand that the #thisflag Movement has orchestrated an operation dubbed Operation Shut Down Zimbabwe.
A form of revolution where everyone and everything in Zimbabwe is supposed to halt, from the vendors, taxi drivers, teachers and every worker anywhere in the country, in protest against the government. With the leader of the movement Pastor Evan Mawarire addressing, highlighting and citing on some of the major concerns of the operation such as unemployment, poor health care and schools that need rejuvenation, the operation is set to go on tomorrow.
I however have a few concerns about the whole Shut Down Zimbabwe issue. Before I go further, allow me to draw your memories to the French Revolution of 1789 which ended in the late 1790s. More than a decade of revolution, a revolution which not only changed the political setup of France but also served as a model for other European Nations.
More than a decade of active demonstrations and people trying to remove an absolute monarchy that had existed for hundreds of years should tell us what we are up against. When Napoleon Bonaparte took power, France enjoyed better benefits including jobs because of a lot of building and construction that was taking place in France, the citizens also enjoyed spoils and boot from Napoleon’s conquests.
Even though Napoleon late had his flaws, which eventually led to his downfall, France became the bread basket of Europe where everyone was satisfied, people were happy and life was good. This is what you get when you foster change and strive, taking action towards the change that you want. When all is said, the revolution was inspired by enlightenment ideals similar to those of Pastor Evan.
What he has done on social media and in person is part of opening people’s eyes and when they see the reality and take action against that reality. It is given that in every revolution, unity of purpose or popular sovereignty is key. Let us come to tomorrow’s program, noble as it maybe, I still feel that the event has been rushed and such short notice will not do any good.
A government and a ruling party that has been in power for 35 will not be shaken by a 24-hour strike. A national program like this needed more time to prepare and raise awareness. I mean why then is it called Shut Down Zimbabwe when people in remote and rural areas where they cannot access internet do not have an idea of what is taking place.
There was great need for planning and promoting this movement properly so that everyone is involved in discussing if it is a viable move or just a waste of time which might as well end up in bloodshed and a much worse situation. People needed to be enlightened on the benefits and hazards, the consequences and implications of the operation.
Some of the people think that it is about fighting and retaliating against police. Police will obviously try to maintain order, that is their job and if anyone tries to stop them then there will violence and what started as a noble idea, of getting a message to the President and the government, might end up disastrous. I guess the reason behind such short notice is to get the government by surprise before they are able to prepare for backup.
Well, being realistic, that will not help. Look at the first and second Chimurenga. Africans lost the first Chimurenga largely because of poor and lack of proper coordination and inadequate planning. Of cause they knew what they wanted, to remove the sitting government and liberate themselves but that ‘will’ without proper planning lend them in a tighter situation.
The Second Chimurenga came, people had learnt, there was unity, and solidarity combined with that will power and the result was change. What we are looking at tomorrow could not be Shut Down Zimbabwe, it might be more of Shut Down Harare. Even some in Harare who fear losing their jobs will find ways to go to work. Not all supermarkets will close, not all offices will close.
I still feel that this could have been better with more and proper coordination. The movement should have deployed member in all provinces and major cities in the country spreading the word of solidarity and unit of purpose. Some will say that Rome was not built in a day, well Zimbabwe is not Rome and we are not Romans. Besides, we have not started building yet, this is not building.
It is more of destroying rubles of some elements, like corruption and mismanagement, in government and then we build from there. But then Jerusalem was once destroyed in a day so we can destroy our own beloved Zimbabwe tomorrow and start building it on Thursday? Nevertheless, it is happening tomorrow and we await to see the outcome.
Let us only remember that a revolution cannot address and change all and every goal (jobs, shortage of money, better life in general) but it sure will bring some change, the power of the will of the people always bring change. God bless my country.