Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Why street protests don't work... How can so many demonstrations accomplish so little?

18 Aug 2019 at 08:35hrs | Views
Street protests are in. From Cape to Cairo and Madrid to Moscow, in Hong kong it has taken ten weeks these days not a week goes by without news that a massive crowd has amassed in the streets of another of the world's big cities. The reasons for the protests vary (bad and too-costly public transport or education, police abuse, public fund abuse Often, the grievance quickly expands to include a repudiation of the government, or its head, or more general denunciations of corruption and economic inequality. MDC A has not given a clear reason for its demonstration. It has told its supporters that its a demonstration to remove the government of President Mnangagwa while to the government they say they are protesting the state of the economy. The ambiguity in the reasons for the protest brings in a lot of confusion. It is the very reason why such demonstrations end up being violent clashes. The demonstrators come in with a different purpose. The outside world is told its own different reason for the demonstrations. This ambush type of administering public demonstrations resembles a dog's breakfast.  They are totally disorganised demonstrations and become recipe for disaster. They leave the national peace hanging on a thread.    

Properly organised anti-government marches routinely show an intimidating sea of people furiously demanding change. And yet, it is surprising how little these crowds achieve. The fervent political energy on the ground is hugely disproportionate to the practical results of these demonstrations. Mostly the organisers are useless headless chickens who either sleep with political leaders for money or for free. Or total jacks seeking publicity with no people's wishes at heart
They deliberately provoke the police and take photos while they are being restrained so that they put it on their profiles and face book to show that they are heroes or to show their sponsors that they can have a clout around them. No plans or follow ups of the demonstrations. No proper goal of such mass actions is forwarded.

Notable exceptions of course exist: In countries where the demonstrators are serious not traitors on the edge like beards. This is when the demonstrations are meant for constructive reasons.

The MDC A. Organised demonstrations have seen unprecedented provocation of the law enforcement agents.
The problem is what happens after the march.

The hodgepodge groups that participated had no formal affiliation with one another, no clear hierarchy, and no obvious leaders. But social networks helped to virally replicate the movement so that the basic patterns of protesting, fundraising, communicating with the media, and interacting with the authorities were similar from place to place. The same message echoed everywhere: It is unacceptable that funds raised are concentrated in the hands of an elite 1 percent while the remaining 99 percent can barely scrape by. Yet the ones who benefit are pretenders who provoke the police for photos and spreading falsehoods to their sponsors.

Such a massive, and seemingly well-organized initiative should have had a greater impact. But it didn't. Though the topic of economic inequality has gained momentum in the years since, in practice it is hard to find meaningful changes in public policy based on demonstrations By and large the Demonstrations have now vanished from the headlines.

In fact, government responses usually amount to little more than rhetorical appeasement, or a polite soft restraint by the riot squad and certainly no major political reforms. MDC A president and his team for example, publicly validated the frustrations of those who took to the streets of our country, and promised that changes would be made, but those ‘changes' never materialize when he was in government himself.  The reaction of  Chamisa to the protests in his party was more aggressive. He accused the other leaders and protesters of plotting a sophisticated conspiracy against him, and tried to elbow them out by violence.

Why? How can so many extremely motivated people achieve so little?
Nothing is achieved by these demonstrations because the leaders of the demonstrations have their own agendas. They experiment on people's lives. That was the extent of the experiment. People got injured. There was never a plan to solve the situation but a recruiting drive by other parties.

In today's world, an appeal to protest via Twitter, Facebook, or text message is sure to attract a crowd, especially if it is to demonstrate against something—anything, really—that outrages us. The problem is what happens after the march. Sometimes it ends in violent confrontation with the police, and more often than not it simply fizzles out. Behind massive street demonstrations there is rarely a well-oiled and more-permanent organization capable of following up on protesters' demands and undertaking the complex, face-to-face, and dull political work that produces real change in government. Before the Internet, the tedious work of organizing that was required to circumvent censorship or to organize a protest also helped build infrastructure for decision making and strategies for sustaining momentum. Now movements can rush past that step, often to their own detriment."

The way people run social media reflects on the way they will run a real face to face gathering   If people realise the school boy prefect tendencies they dissect into your shallow and empty brains.  The protests never work now because the leaders think they are group leaders in grade two class and being leaders defeats the purpose of the demonstration in the first place. The zeal to be relevant ends up diverting the noble idea you started on and exposes the idiocy otherwise covered by make up. As Obama once said a pig on make up.
There is nowhere in the world where demonstrations have yielded the desired purpose.
People should learn as fast as possible that they are being used by their greedy leaders.

Each time the opposition finds itself out of steam they come up with a demonstration to seek relevance.
With the fragile economy in our country any demonstration will destroy the economy. Any reasonable government must never allow such madness to prevail.  

Demonstrations will never help.  The MDC A came up with these demonstrations just to show that they are still there.
Imagine the whole full leader of a party still crying for elections which he knows he lost clear and straight forward.
It is sad that the Chamisa massages his ego by destroying the economy. He is actually destroying the future of the masses just because he has no future for himself.
Supported by violent hooligans in the name of Job Sikhala and Tendai Biti Chamisa deliberately crush the seeds of our economy.
Having done so they have the temerity of blaming ZANU PF for making lives of many unbearable.
It should get into our heads that demonstrations are futile and unreasonable.

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.