ZwNews Chief Correspondent
An assortment of Zimbabwe churches and civic societies say they are planning to re-orient their focus on vital matters to address bread and butter issues, the founding ethos of civil activism.
To be held under the theme ‘reclaiming the citizen’s struggle/ space beyond political curtains, the consortium says it will soon hold an indaba at a local hotel in the capital, to refocus operations.
In an invitation statement to all stakeholders which include grassroots community leaders, churches, rights activists, and civil society members, the body says it is seeking to return to original mandate mooted during the 1999 when civic groupings were vibrant.
“The space for bread and butter, social and economic justice activism has been high-jacked by those seeking political power. It is time to return to basics,” said the body.
Over the years, the country’s social movements have been kidnapped for political expediency. Most recently, the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) came under spotlight when its leader Stan Zvorwadza showed allegiance to the Mnangagwa administration. In 2016, the association was instrumental in mobising the citizens against government’s failures to address the economic situation.
Zvorwadza’s new stance has led to one analyst to conclude that the association’s agility to protests during the 2016 era, to had been motivated by the then ZANU PF internal power squabbles to succeed the President of the country at the time, Robert Mugabe.
Social commentator, Hazel Chimombe, says for years, civil activisms in Zimbabwe has been driven by the politics of the stomach. “Some social movements in the country have joined the political bandwagon, whose rules are swim with the team of the day,” she says.