Zimbabwe: Pro-democracy Movement

Image Credit: Zimmetro.net

Image Credit: Zimmetro.net

The new pro-democracy movement in Zimbabwe began in April 2016 with the impassioned plea of Pastor Evan Mawarire on social media coinciding with President Robert Mugabe’s 36th consecutive year in power.

Pastor Mawarire's "This Flag" movement and a number of parallel movements like Tajamuka have organized mass protests and strikes throughout the country. In turn, pro-Mugabe supporters have held marches to show their backing for the long-standing president. The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, which has typically lent unquestionable support to Mugabe, recently came forth and publicly rebuked Mugabe’s abuse of presidential powers.

The major demand from protesters are for Mugabe, and his Zanu-PF party, to take responsibility for the current poor economic conditions and launch democratic reforms for more transparency and accountability. More radical movements, including Tajamuka, have explicitly called for Mugabe's resignation. 

Recently, the momentum behind the #ThisFlag movement has faded as Mawarire has sought asylum in the US. The Tajamuka ("We are Rising") movement in turn is seeking to expand its support base into rural areas. The judiciary has upheld the constitutionality of the protests, contrary to Mugabe's wishes. 

 

Further Reading:

 

Zimbabwe anti-Mugabe activist speaks out after beating. News24. 17 September 2016.

Highlighting one protester who underwent a beating and Tajamuka's message. 

Rejected by citizens, #ThisFlag needs to reflect and re-invent. Nehanda Radio. 12 September 2016. 

Analysis of the recent waning of the #ThisFlag movement. 

Zimbabwe: Tajamuka movement vows to gather support in rural areas where 'fear of Zanu-PF' is fading. IBT. 8 September 2016.

Overview of Tajamuka's strategy going forward to gather greater support outside of Harare. 

The man behind #ThisFlag, Zimbabwe's accidental movement for change. The Guardian. 26 May 2016. 
An explanation of the context behind #ThisFlag and Pastor Mawarire. 

What Everyone's Getting Wrong About Zimbabwe's #ThisFlag Movement. Foreign Policy. 21 July 2016. 
An analysis of the overlap between the internet activism that propelled the movement and what its demands are. 

Zimbabwe war veterans boycott Mugabe speech. Al Jazeera. 8 August 2016. 
Coverage of war veterans' stance on #ThisFlag and some of Mugabe's reactions to it. 

Tajamuka Calls for Mass Stay Away to Press Mugabe to Step Down. 29 August 2016. 
An example of Tajamuka's actions and demands.