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We haven’t suffered enough yet to protest

SO the state machinery is being praised for thwarting last Wednesday’s peaceful demonstration by workers?


The claim that workers did not heed the call by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is one of the infamous lies. If

the workers did not heed the call, then why was the riot police (anti-riot in normal situations, but in our case they are riotous) at the places earmarked for the beginning of the demos?


Anyway, people are despondent. Maybe we need to wait a little longer for people to suffer more until they realise that they need no call for a demonstration in town. Rather they will walk from the townships and the police will join as well.


Only then can we say the people have learnt to express themselves in spite of the threats from a government that unleashes its vicious state agents on civilians who desire to express their rights.


It’s disturbing people want things to change but they remain spectators. The suffering people do not want to be players in the battle that is meant to liberate them. They will continue wailing and mourning over the tough times — difficult indeed with over 80% living far below the poverty datum line.


How can we change the system when people are not willing to participate in their own liberation? Zimbabweans have become “crybabies”. We want the international community to feel pity for us, yet we are not prepared to fight it out ourselves.


We blame South African President Thabo Mbeki for his quiet diplomacy. We expect the Zimbabwe crisis to be discussed at African Union, Sadc and United Nations summits, yet we do not want to kick-start our own battle.


True, we are a bunch of cowards, pointing at the grit yet not risking to pluck it out. This is what happens in a country where people are slowly conditioned to their desperate situation to a point when they begin to see every other violent act of cowardice from the state as something to be expected.


The majority of people remaining in Zimbabwe fall into three classes.


The first class consists of state apparatus including the security, police, army, youth militia, Zanu PF and their sympathisers.


The second group is a small bunch of enlightened people who get arrested now and then for advocating action. These include human rights activists, student leadership and trade unionists, a sprinkling of opposition politicians and a small cohort of churchmen.


Then there are the masses that are too poor to take time off selling their wares on the streets (a forbidden practice under municipal by-laws). In fact, they are too busy with hand-to-mouth survival tactics that they cannot conceive of challenging government thuggery — even if the thuggery sometimes involves beating them, destroying their houses and dispossessing them of money, grain and dignity.


This group is in the majority. The average civil servant falls in this category too. If you think of nurses, the army and teachers, then you are looking at a group of people who have had the earliest, brutal and worst interaction with the state and its quasi-military thuggery.


They are now a timid bunch. Not without reason: they have seen their colleagues harassed, beaten, transferred to more hostile environments or even killed without the perpetrators being brought to book.


So what will happen in Zimbabwe? The false atmosphere of normalcy will prevail for now. It has been there since 2000. Seven years later, there is no sign that it is coming to an end.


In fact, the regime seems to be getting stronger and stronger by the day. Don’t ever expect a demonstration to materialise in Zimbabwe against poverty. Unless its Chinos protesting Tony Blair or George Bush’s sanctions against ruling party barons.


Zimbabweans haven’t suffered enough, thus demos aren’t meaningful yet.



Clyde Muropa &


Zivanai Tsvuura,


Harare.

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