Source: The day Zimbabweans found their voice #ShutDownZImbabwe2016 – Kalabash Media 8th July 2016
By Kalabash Contributor
Wednesday 6th proved a historical day to many Zimbabweans after the successful rolling out of a countrywide #ShutdownZimbabwe2016 an initiative spearheaded by a coalition including #ThisFlag founder Pastor Evan Mawarire, #Tajamuka, Occupy Africa Unity Square and other stakeholders.
It is unfortunate the week hasn’t been a pleasant one with many violent encounters between frustrated citizens and the overzealous police. However it is important to take lessons from the shutdown as to what to expect in the future. Speculation turned to reality when Zimbabweans countrywide woke up to yet another violation of their right to communicate as internet connection was slowed down and in some parts blocked. Whatsapp was not functioning for the majority countrywide.
The Zimbabwean government has taken a leaf from Uganda which shut down its internet during their elections and prior to Museveni’s inauguration ceremony. Despite Mawarire and others emphasizing peace and calling on the police not to use violence on citizens, there has been cases of violence countrywide. Most of them are true and some of them are not. Nonetheless 6th of July will go down in the books of history when the ordinary Zimbabwean realized the real power lies within the united citizens.
Shutdown Zimbabwe has been a peaceful protest against the poverty, unemployment among many other pressing issues in the country. On the other hand the state media has once more distorted the history of the nation by suggesting it was a flop. As one of the Zimbabwean who falls under the bracket of the ordinary Zimbo, I am proud I was part of History by participating in the campaign.
The biggest lesson is that cliché United we stand, divided we fall is true. While we applaud Pastor E, #Tajamuka, Occupy Africa Unity Square and all the activists involved for this initiative it is important to note the role that has been played by other bodies like ZIMTA along with other associations that reached out to their members to stay at home. While the majority has recorded a victory we ought to start thinking about where we are headed as a country and how best can we engage the rural community as well. When it comes to the ballot box the large population in the rural area will be needed.