Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Elevating the Struggle

Barely a week after their counterparts from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions were arrested and tortured for demonstrating against the government, Lovemore Madhuku's National Constituitonal Assembly (NCA) have promised they'll be out on the streets today. From Zimonline,
Zimbabwe’s National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic alliance will today stage street protests in Harare and other major cities against alleged police torture of trade union leaders last week, ZimOnline has learnt.

“We are not happy with the way the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leadership was brutally attacked (by the police),” said Madhuku. “There is anger out there but I cannot confirm when exactly the demonstrations will take place,” he added.

NCA insiders said alliance leaders were not letting out the exact time protests will kick off in order to surprise the police, who are expected to again mount a similarly massive security operation as last week when they thwarted ZCTU-led worker protests.

But they said more than 300 NCA activists were expected to march across Harare while almost similar numbers of protestors were expected in the cities of Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo and Kadoma.

In our repressive situation, I have no information yet of how the demonstration is going thus far. That's not what is most important to me though. Here's what I find interesting; that the NCA will purpotedly be on the streets in protest of what they know the police did to the ZCTU, and more importantly they're going to be on the street despite their knowledge of what they know will happen. That, is called defiance and marks a new horizon in the Zimbabwean struggle for the restoration of our democracy.

I am not waxing nostalgic over nothing here. I know that every time we've had a protest in Zimbabwe, the government has always come out threatening, with actions to back up their words too. So there is a sense in which every protest that has gone on in Zimbabwe has been defiant. What I'm talking about here is something different though. Right after the ZCTU protest was crushed last week, the MDC came out and said that their march is still on. Now NCA is doing the same. What is more is that ZCTU went into last weeks protest knowing their march had been banned by government! See the trend, it is called defiance, but it's to detriment of the leaders who are doing so. That is something refreshingly new.

I have long criticised for the opposition movement in Zimbabwe for excercising restrained opposition. I've called them out for engaging the diabolic forces that are dominating Zimbabwe only as far as it was at no personal peril. Now it seems our leaders are maturing in their leadership of the people. We the people follow their lead, we'll only engage in the struggle only as much as they do. If they show restraint, we have to do likewise. And if they don't, it allows us to sell out to the cause of our democracy. That's why I mantain that the struggle has elevated to a new level. We've long been waiting for the leaders to do this.

So despite its success or failure, today's NCA protest together with that of the ZCTU from last week and that which is to come from the MDC will go down in my book as the markers of new heights in the fight for Zimbabwe. Enough! Zvakwana! Sokwanele!

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