Social movements in coalition talks

ANTI-GOVERNMENT social movements are reportedly on the verge of forming a coalition envisaged to join forces with opposition parties already in talks aimed at piling pressure on President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF regime and fielding a single candidate to challenge the veteran politician in next year’s presidential race.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Sources said the proposed coalition of social movements would eventually join forces with like-minded democratic forces which have endorsed the coalition project.

Several social movements among them #ThisFlag fronted by cleric Evan Mawarire, #Tajamuka/Sesijikile, Zimbabwe Yadzoka, Mayibuye iZimbabwe, Buya, #ThisGown, #TheZimbabweWeWant and many others, have reportedly already agreed on a working framework for the proposed coalition.

#Tajamuka/Sesijikile spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi confirmed the development, saying: “It is just a Press statement on the state of the country. There is no coalition. A coalition to what effect?”

However, he seemed to let the cat out of the bag: “We want to see how we can work together to resolve the situation.”

A source close to the developments added: “We have been working very hard behind the scenes and a statement will be issued this week. It is the culmination of a lot of negotiations that have been going on and the realization that our country needs us to do something and the coalition will provide the perfect platform for youth participation.”

In an invite to journalists for a Press briefing to be held concurrently in Bulawayo and Harare today the social movements groups said: “The social citizens’ movements in Zimbabwe will be issuing a joint statement on the deepening socio-economic crisis in our nation.”

Mawarire last year turned into an overnight hero after an emotional video rant in which he accused the government of failing to deliver on the promises of the liberation struggle. The cleric was harassed, arrested and forced out of the country before his voluntary return this year.

He was arrested on arrival and is now on trial for subversion and attempting to overthrow a constitutionally elected government.

“The joint statement is the first step in creating a national citizens’ movement that brings Zimbabweans across the divide together.
The movement wants to condemn and challenge government on its disastrous policies. There is a possibility that the united front will support a coalition of political parties if they succeed in coming up with one,” the source said.

But the activist said there was growing unease and discontent within the current crop of opposition leaders.

“However, the mostly young people who are in the social movements are tired of the same players and will either push for a lot of participatory space in the elections or even decide to go for broke. We are confident that we can reawaken the whole nation. The ball is in our court as young people and we fully intend to play it all the way,” NewsDay was told.

The public show of support for Mawarire last year rattled Mugabe, forcing the veteran Zanu PF leader to denounce the cleric and warn him against dabbling in politics.

Fearing for his security, Mawarire briefly sought refuge in South Africa and the United States, before coming back to resume his campaign.

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