James Muzondidya. Zimbabwean Researcher and Analyst.
One of the dominant and recurring themes in civil society discourses around the revival and strengthening of the Zimbabwean civic movement is the issue of social movements. At almost every Civil Society Organization (CSO) workshop/meeting that has been convened since July 2013, there has been a general consensus amongst CSO leaders, policy and strategy advisors and research practitioners that there is a critical need for the civic movement to reconnect with its social base in order to remain relevant, legitimate and powerful. Much more importantly, it has been strongly argued that there is an imperative need for a sustained process of (re)building social movements that can push for the realization of Zimbabwean citizens’ socio-economic rights and interests as well as social and political change. What has, however, been critically missing in this emerging ‘post-July 31 consensus’ is some serious thinking about how this social movement (re)building process is supposed to be done; the kind of social movements envisioned; the opportunities and challenges involved in rebuilding these social movements; the role that contemporary CSOs is supposed to play in the whole process; and the strategies required for such a process to succeed. This discussion paper seeks to examine the key issues that need to be considered in Zimbabwean civil society’s deliberations around social movement rebuilding. (Read more…)
The Solidarity Peace Trust is deeply shocked and saddened by the recent wave of racist and xenophobic violence that has taken place in several South African cities particularly in Kwazulu Natal and Gauteng.
As a human rights organisation working for peace and justice in Southern Africa, we add our voice to those of Civil Society, Government, Trade Unions as well as the peace loving South Africans in condemning these xenophobic attacks.
We acknowledge that there are a number of social and economic challenges facing South Africa’s poorer communities. However there can be no justification whatsoever for these acts of violence.
We are overwhelmed by the generosity of ordinary community members from Phoenix and Chatsworth near Durban as well as other cities across the country who responded so quickly to the call by ourselves and other NGOs for support and assistance to the displaced, injured and affected people.
We thank the government of the Republic of South Africa, and the various African embassies for their support in assisting the displaced people who chose to return home. However our experience over the years tells us that the vast majority of foreign nationals will remain in South Africa and this will require that the government of South Africa strengthen its efforts in dealing more decisively with the structural causes of the xenophobic violence.
Finally we call on all religious organisations to dedicate this Sunday 26 April 2015 to a Prayer for Peace in Africa as we note the spread of this hatred and anger to other parts of the continent.
ISSUED BY: Josephat Tshuma. (CHAIRPERSON)
SOLIDARITY PEACE TRUST
38 MITCHEL DRIVE
SELVAN CHETTY 0396825869 | 0835561726 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Raftopoulos, Director of Research and Advocacy, Solidarity Peace Trust.
In an insightful commentary on the current state of Zimbabwe politics, Joost Fontein writes about the prevalence of despondency in which a ‘new timescale of hope and aspiration’ has emerged ‘that makes both the present and any immediate future appear equally uninspiring.’1 In many ways this resignation to the politics of the long haul reflects the loss of hope in an imminent alternative, which was the structure of feeling that fuelled the social imagination of opposition and civic politics from the late 1990’s until the complexities and complicities of the Global Political Agreement. Underlying this politics of despair are a plethora of factors, ranging from the re-organisation of Zanu PF and its political machinery of patronage, coercion and electoral chicanery, to the massive dissipation of opposition energies in the context of large-scale changes in Zimbabwe social structure since the 1990’s. The recent implosion in Zanu PF around the politics of succession have, moreover, provided further evidence of the pervasive mood of despair in Zimbabwe’s polity, even against the background of the ruling party’s purported victory and resurgence in the 2013 election. (Read more…)