Strategise before taking to the streets

Opposition parties are planning a demonstration tomorrow and they hope this will gain traction compared with previous protests, as people wary of the recently introduced bond notes are likely to join in.

Source: Strategise before taking to the streets – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editor

We have lost count of the number of demonstrations that have been held in the past five months, yet nothing has changed.

It is one thing to hold a demonstration for the sake of holding one and another to have a strategy with set goals and targets.

Failure to set goals and targets will result in Zimbabweans being weary and sceptical of demonstrations and this will ultimately lead to these protests flopping.

Opposition parties should set tangible goals for their actions, because, from a layman’s point of view, these protests are not achieving anything except the obvious violence with which the State will respond.

These demonstrations are akin to the opposition boycott of elections, whose objective nobody seems not to know.

Opposition parties say they will not participate in elections until there is electoral reform, but Zanu PF is intent to forge ahead and will pay a deaf ear to their concerns, while at the same time consolidating its hold on Parliament.

It is quite clear that there is no Plan B and the opposition are just prodding along and hoping for a lucky break, rather than a carefully laid-out plan.

The questions the opposition parties should be asking themselves is “then what?” each time they plan an action.

We are yet to learn what the plan was about boycotting elections and also with demonstrations.

Zanu PF, as it has reiterated, will not reform itself out of power, so on that end boycotting elections alone is inadequate, and, we dare say, a poor strategy.

The same is likely to happen with these demonstrations; Zanu PF is likely to use violence and brute force to crush them and then what?

Before weariness takes root, opposition leaders should lead these demonstrations from the front, as this will embolden their supporters to follow suit.

The opposition, could, for example, say we are taking to the streets for an infinite number of days until Zanu PF agrees to certain reforms.

These are examples of what the opposition could do to reinvigorate their supporters and win new followers, otherwise tomorrow’s planned demonstrations are not going to be any fruitful.

Without a clear strategy, the script for tomorrow’s demonstration is quite predictable: The police will deploy heavily, opposition members will try to converge at the open space near Rotten Row Magistrates’ Courts, teargas will be thrown, several people arrested and they will be violence and the following day, things will proceed like nothing happened.

Then what is the point of these demonstrations if they are going to be this predictable?


  • comment-avatar
    Mazano Rewayi 5 years ago

    The opposition needs a clear goal, a well defined strategy and effective tactics towards that goal. That goal should be to take over power and thereafter implement the democratic reforms everyone wishes for. As much as they may not like to hear this, the opposition must and should learn from Zanu Pf. When it comes to power, these guys leave no stone un-turned, shoot below the belt and rape their mothers. Of cause the opposition needs not be this crude but being hopeful saints will not stop the thuggery. You do not pray for a rapist whilst he is at it, nor a thief whilst he is looting – you stop them first. Only when they are in chains do you pray to God to forgive them. Likewise, the rot in Zim must be stopped through decisive action not appeals to the architects of the decay. The opposition must plan to win the 2018 elections at all cost, reforms or no reforms, rigging or no rigging. This must be the watershed election and all resources, energy and people must be mobilized for victory. The opposition must: (1) talk to the people, not the press or SADC or the “international community”; only the people who vote, (2) ensure the “swing group” – the youths are registered to vote, (3) prepare simple messages for the rural voters, eg. “No one can see what you do in the ballot box”, “Independence means you choose your government”, “Why are ministers fat and you are thin?”, “Where is the money from diamonds?”, “What do old people do?”, etc. These messages need not be in newspapers or sung at rallies – single page A5 size pumphlets in vernacular dropped regularly by the roadside will do. (4) involve everyone and and everybody in the campaign – hoot the cars at 7.00 am and 5.00 pm every working day, sing (any song) every weekend between 1.00 and 2.00 pm; everyone greets every policemen every time all the time from now till election results in 2018.
    Opposition leaders and strategist also need to read and learn from history, Mahatma Gandhi in India, Martin Luther King in the USA, Nkomo and the UNDP in Rhodesia offer some relevant lessons for the situation we find ourselves in now.