By Patson Dzamara
Its time to stand in solidarity in numbers. We may not get another chance again, at least not sooner.
We have the perfect ingredients for victory. In fact, we have made it a long way since a few months ago, or even a year ago when my brother took a risk and it materialized.
In a big way, we have all made huge sacrifices as Zimbabweans. Getting out of our shells to openly speak and contribute to national discourse is among the greatest achievements in 36 years.
I assume no special space, neither do i speak as the advocate or protester in chief. I have no desire to mock those that protest in silence. My desire is to encourage you fellow countrymen, my fellow citizens.
I believe in criticism, but also understand its limits. Mugabe might be leaning towards tolerating free speech, but he is far from reforming. Our war was never to be allowed to criticise Bob im comments sections on Facebook and Twitter, neither was it to be allowed to be angry in social spaces.
Social spaces remain that – places of socialising. They may not be able to effect real change. While celebrating that small victory, we must not forget the bigger point, the bigger picture.
Only organised social action on the ground yields results. Concerted efforts on the ground, as voters, as citizens. Earlier yesterday, i was arrested. Not because i spoke on Facebook, but because i stood and protested at parliament. My arrest is no bigger in the grand scheme of things, but my point is that I shouldn’t be standing there alone.
How about 1 000, 10 000, 100 000 and even a million of us get to transmute our anger and passion into action? Yes that anger we generously and passionately display on social media.
Look here, Mugabe has entrenched his misrule through the help and abuse of the security apparatus. One of the ways through which we will gain victory is demystifying them. Once we demystify the security apparatus it becomes easy for the rule of law to be upheld in Zimbabwe.
We must know the dictates of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and we must force them to respect the Constitution. Their job is to enforce the law not the whims and fancies of ZANU PF. According to the Constitution of Zimbabwe it is my right to demonstrate, protest and petition peacefully; so shall it be.
Even taking selfies while I am “abducted” or “arrested” is my right…hehehe. Why not? We must demystify them.
I was arrested today, detained for over 6 hours, cautioned and released for demonstrating in front of Parliament. If I can do it because I am unhappy, everyone who is unhappy with the way this country is being run and ranting on social media can and must do it too.
I have always posited that a marriage between online and offline processes is what will take us through to the promised land. Hashtags alone won’t take us through. Our meaningless analysis mode and inclination towards romancing trivia won’t take us through. Action will.
Yes there is power in peaceful action and there is power in numbers too. That’s why we need everyone to plug in and get onto the ground.
Zimbabweans we can do this. Let’s do away with fear. Let’s confront this evil regime head on. A new and better Zimbabwe is possible in our lifetime. We shall come fave to face with it.
Let’s do this…Kusvika vati eke.
- Dr. Patson Dzamara is a human rights activist based in Harare, Zimbabwe.