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Finally the one causing fires in Zimbabwe revealed. Where there is fire, there is politics

21 Nov 2018 at 21:06hrs | Views
"Together, hand in hand, with our boxes of matches . . . we shall liberate this country."
- Winnie Mandela, 1986

As one stood surrounded by billowing smoke, In the shack industrial settlement of Willovale Road  on the outskirts of the Glenview area 8 suburb flames flickered between piles of debris, which the day before had been wood-plank,beds,wardrobes and all sorts of furniture and plastic tarpaulin walls done by the indigenous industrialists. The conflagration began around 2:30 PM. Within hours, before the arrival of fire trucks or ambulances, the two thousand households that comprised the industry as we knew it had burnt to the ground. The fire brigade came with only one thing in mind to protect the service station which was nearby and not to salvage anything from the burning place. The lives of thousands were taken up in smoke. "Where there is fire, there is politics," This fire, like others before, had been covered by the local press and radio, some journalists having been notified by the social media.   By midday, local officials in luxury vehicles rode down the winding dirt road of the settlement, leaving a dirty7 dust and no action.

Fire is a familiar sign of life in the sprawling shack lands that populate the margins of Harare's city centre. Behind securitized suburban landscapes, glossy shopping plazas, and, residents like routinely use fire as a source of light and heat at home, and as a weapon of protest on the streets. Since the election the opposition MDC A has endeavoured to pour sand in the government efforts to govern or in any development. Only a fool can take their words lightly. Dissatisfaction with the slow pace of socioeconomic transformation has been consistently expressed through urban unrest from street protests to labour strikes to accidental destruction of property particularly among those who still struggle to make life viable and secure in historically MDC-based communities.

There is an explanation on how residents of townships and shack settlements leverage the material properties of fire to secure techno-institutional claims to energy infrastructure, and more broadly to political inclusion and economic redistribution. As will be seen in the upsurge of fire the opposition are deploying the distinct destructive and productive capacities of fire through practices, borrowed from the devils workshop the opposition is secretly being as destructive as possible to all property in sight. But as part of a movement that has no tremendous moral force and faces targets that care more for property than for people, property damage has a proven track record of effectiveness in bringing about attention that would otherwise be denied. Conversely, the history of just politely asking for change echoes loudly with the yawns of the ignored. It is therefore not farfetched to realise that the sparodic fires gutting the nation are no mistake but premeditated actions of the MDC and its grumbling supporters. Any group of protesters — firefighters or students who resort to trashing buildings as an acceptable, routine tactic are more likely to ‘total' their own public support than make a dent in the religion of private property that we live under.

It is very true that property destruction has been the defining tactical feature of the MDC marches and protests.
The opposition have a wrong mentality that a government can be brought down by the tiny military impact of the acts of sabotage; much less by random window-breaking. They have failed to command mass resistance, largely based on consumer boycotts, and large-scale civil disobedience, supported by a worldwide direct action movement for divestment. In order to cause fear there is a well calculated burning around the country meant to undermine the government.

Lasting political change rests on a shift in power relations within society. And you can't change a system by trashing stuff. Only changing people and their interactions can do that. The opposition is entertaining a wrong thought that these fires will cause tension between the people and the government.

It should be noted that property damage is not the defining feature of the MDC, but yes, it is a destructive one. Property damage does not have to be a tool to gain public support. People do not have to be persecuted by burning their livelihoods. The number of people who are now jobless and those who depended on them must be enough to appeal to the warped minds of the terrorists burning down shops buildings and informal traders markets. it is not the way to show your anger against the government. Strong action must be taken. These fires are not an accident this is arson and indeed it should be stopped. When we rip up crops or trash mining equipment, expose our own people to starvation by destroying their source of income we are not democrats, we are terrorists and we must never hold our heads between our shoulders without shame.

The danger lies in fetishizing any tactic, violent or nonviolent. The problem with riot p0rn - rocks, windows, burning cars – is that these tactics are more damaging and ridiculously ineffectual.

We should not be concerned with what those who cause or defend the bad stuff think. We need to ask what is the right thing to do to stop what is wrong; actually stop it, as opposed to just saying we'd like it stopped. Those who stand at the edge of an evil merely bearing witness are allowing it to continue. Their compliance is complicity. People out there know who is causing this mayhem, it must be stopped. Those who said it will not be skinned must show us their knives, our country is burning and we are the ones burning it.

We see people applauding editorial lines that are praising of vandalism and terrorism all the time. Social media is awash with those videos of burning shops, some have now formed a group tracking places where fire will rule. It becomes fashion to report burning. It is not okay to damage property? It is tactical and strategic suicide. Provocateur-style trashing isn't radical civil disobedience. Many lives depend on us understanding the difference.

Zimbabwe is not decorated in petrol so it must not catch fire that fast. The state must put it engine in action and eradicate the spirit of burning before the whole infrastructure is burnt.

Very soon we are going to have lunatics encouraged by these acts of banditry starting to cause fires to keep the madness going. There are those who are quick to spread the fake news to create an image that the whole country is burning. Some go to an extent of photo shopping burning buildings and declare fire in Zimbabwe. Only idiots possessed will rejoice to see their country on fire.

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
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