By Tariro Senderayi
The second ZRP demo ban prescribed on the 16th of October and as we are several days into it, I cannot help but entertain some malicious thoughts of scenarios in my mind of what is yet to come. Maybe people are so engrossed with trying to survive that they have missed the fact.
I don’t know if people have noticed that the speed at which the demos had gathered momentum over the past few months in Zimbabwe has slowly died down many thanks to the devilishly unconstitutional demo ban that poured cold water on this. In as much as activists from across the political divide had screamed bloody Mary! about the unconstitutional nature of this ban, we were fooled as it actually served its purpose. Were activists hoodwinked once again by the malicious system? What began with activists possessing unrelenting zeal to march this way and that in the streets of Harare in a quest for justice now pretty much resembles a deflated balloon. Unfortunately, all that pent up energy was deflated the moment there was the introduction of not the first ban but the second one.
We are left to wonder what shall be the next course of action as in the past week or two Zimbabwe witnessed the brazen arrogance of our public officials. Arrogance in owning up to having misappropriated funds yet walking away with mere slaps on the wrist and being shielded from the scathing public by the centre of power in Zimbabwe. Ministers have reached a point of defending the indefensible and rubbing it in the faces of Zimbabweans. Frustration is mounting by the day at this inept thieving government as they seem to have lost grip of what their actions or inactions are doing to the citizenry of Zimbabwe.
Not to say that exercising one’s constitutional right to demonstrate that is enshrined in section 59 of the constitution is a bad thing but with the socio economic environment who still has the energy honestly? With the exhausting bank queues and citizens experiencing the callousness of the system at a personal level maybe people have decided to throw in the towel and welcome their fate with open arms. When these demos began to become a regular show people had become more confident in themselves. People had now realised that they had the power to make public officials uncomfortable. People had reached a point of having a willingness to weather the storm that is tear gas and canon water in its various forms as long as their voices had been heard. Which then brings me back to the question that now that the ban has prescribed will it be business as usual for activists or we have found other means of applying pressure on the gas pedal?
Has it dawned on the people that taking to the streets has yielded very little results or they have regrouped and are actually preparing for the mother of all demos? News from the grapevine has it that various pressure groups are hell bent of carrying out a demonstration against the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. The objective of this supposed demo is to demand that he pay back the money siphoned in the ZIMDEF scandal, that he step down from public office and that he ultimately faces the music in court. Or maybe people have realised that marching may not yield the anticipated results they have switched strategy. A few days ago members of the #Tajamuka/Sesijikile pressure group took it upon themselves to arrest the Honorable Minister. This never happened as the Minister was conveniently absent from his office attending a cabinet meeting.
At the end of the day the blanket ban seems to have doused the volatile route in which the demos where about to take but is this permanent or temporary? Or will the demos come back in full force in the streets of the capital? Or will the police issue a third ban so that they replenish their dwindling supply of tear gas and canon water? Or citizens are restrategising on what point of action to take? Or the citizens have had it up to there with the inept government they no longer possess that resolute fighting spirit instead are waving their white flags in surrender? So many questions…