Safeguarding tommorow through sensible leadership, even in the midst of protest
By Simon Herring
During the last protest, open letters were written to heads of schools, warning them that someone would be ‘watching’, and unspecified action would be taken against those schools which operated during the stay-away. This is EXACTLY the thinking we are protesting about – directing others through fear, and is completely unacceptable.
The protests in Zimbabwe – sporadic and without defined leadership, have shown the incredible depth of feeling and sentiment. And anger. And power.
But in the midst of this heady mix, it is important for us to remember that all are NOT equal, and different sections of society have different needs.
While the anger of the people needs to be expressed openly and without fear, there are some sections of society which need to operate, and which should be excluded from the protests – particularly if the protests involve ‘staying away’. Sections of society which need to be safeguarded, because they are vulnerable.
During the last protest, open letters were written to heads of schools, warning them that someone would be ‘watching’, and unspecified action would be taken against those schools which operated during the stay-away.
This is EXACTLY the thinking we are protesting about – directing others through fear, and is completely unacceptable.
Threatening and cajoling is the way we have been ruled for the past decades, and it is enough. Zvakwana! Understand that.
If you threaten, you are no better than those who lead us at the moment, and you have no place in these protests. You belong with the dinosaurs.
Our will is being expressed voluntarily, and not because we are being ‘forced’ in any way. We, the people of Zimbabwe, have to understand that tomorrow is important, that we need to nurture the future, and not ask for the present to pay for the past.
As has been the case for the last 36 years. Make me king for a day, and ask me to direct these protests and the ones to follow, and I would make the following decrees: –
- The protests MUST be peaceful.
- The sway of violence in this land must end – Our children are important.
- Therefore schools will open as normal during all protests, and will operate as normal.
- Teachers should report for work as normal, and while we understand they have grievances, we the people will express those grievances by staying away.
- We will talk for the teachers, and safeguard our children’s education at the same time.Teachers and children please go to school.
- There are those in society who cannot look after themselves, and in this regard we ask our doctors and nurses to report for work. We have all seen the videos of ZRP beating civilians – if this happens again, we want someone to be there for them.
- And a woman in labor cannot come back tomorrow after the protests. So, please our medical people report for work. Again – we will express your frustration with on-payment of your salaries on your behalf.
- There are innocents in our midst who have no bearing on our society other than to benefit us, and who we want to return. By this I mean the foreign tourist.
- Our hotels and lodges, airlines and airports should please operate as normal. – Our business premises are important for tomorrow, for when our country is reborn. So those responsible for guarding them should report for work
- Our police and army should work, because otherwise mayhem would ensue, but they should protect the people. (Remember ‘Serve and Protect’?) Not beat them with batons.
Otherwise, yes, every business should close. Manufacturing, shops and retail, commerce, industry, banking, information (why were the papers published the day after the stay-away – did they not support the people???), transport, mining, farming, foresters, producers of any sort.
Our masikas should close. Our churches, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hair salons and beauty parlors must close. All other Civil Servants must stay at home.
Post Offices, Civic Centres, Tax Departments, Road Workers, everyone. We want no-one moving on the streets unless absolutely necessary.
There are some industries which should partially operate – for example kombis should ferry children, teachers, nurses, guards etc.
But ONLY those people.
Farms should keep produce alive and healthy by watering, feeding or milking.
Keep our essential functions open – and by these I mean those operations which will impact on tomorrow. Because, people, tomorrow is what today is all about. And tomorrow is important.