Zimbabwe Beyond July 2013: Prospects for rebuilding vibrant social movements

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.

Conceptual Framework: Understanding the nature of Social movements

Social movements are organized sustained collective campaigns pushing for the implementation of certain policies or specific changes in society’s structure or values in order to achieve a specific social goal.  Social movements may seek to a better order for themselves or the world, while others seek to safeguard recent achievements against reversal or encroachment.[1] Many third world social movements, for instance, have been formed to defend their members’ livelihood against the encroachment of economic crisis and political repression. Social movements usually emerge in response to situations of inequality, oppression and/or unmet social, political, economic or cultural demands and strive for political and/or social change.  The key objective of social movements as collectivities is attempting to change the social order.

The main defining characteristic of social movements is that they are comprised of constituents pursuing a common political agenda of change through collective action.’ (Batliwala 2012: 3).[2] Their power mainly lies in their potential of mass-based citizen action to transform societies and create new forms of political participation and political voice, including in the domain of governance (Dutting and Sogge 2010).[3] Social movements have existed across history, and recent history has shown that they remain a significant force for challenging inequalities and exclusions in society and for proposing new models and visions for economic and political power relations.[4] Social movements today are considered perhaps the most important agents of social transformation.[5] They are also commonly viewed as an alternative mode of enabling social change outside the party system.[6]

Although social movements differ in size, they are forms of collective action resulting from the coming together of people who share a common outlook on society and social objective.[7] They can take the form of institutionalized or non-institutionalized collective action organized by network of supporters rather than members.  Although most social movements are more defensive than offensive and tend to be temporary, they last longer than single issue campaigns because they push for positive change in relation to their set of beliefs and ideals.

The fundamental issue that has been debated for years is that of the conditions under which social movements emerge.  Although grievances as such do not necessarily result in social movements, scholars and analysts agree that social movements and protest basically come from social, political and economic grievances.[8] Historical evidence also suggests that social movements revive during economic downturns when the downturn most detrimentally affects people’s livelihoods and identity. In the 1990s, for instance, there was movement towards social movement in Africa and Latin America in response to the spread of the world economic crisis which was acutely felt in these two continents.[9]

Conditions of increased deprivation and grievances, political decay and failure create space for social movements to generate and wield social power through mobilization of their participants. In most cases, they motivate and mobilize the millions of people mainly outside established political and social institutions.[10] The recourse by people to the non-institutionalized forms of collective association (social movements) is partly motivated by the people’s disappointment in established political and social institutions.  Social movements thus fill the void where the state and other political institutions are unable or have failed to act in the interests of their members.[11]

The key question for both analysts and activists in Zimbabwe today is that of whether contemporary Zimbabwe is conducive to the building of social movements. There is undoubtedly increased grievance due to the worsening of the economic and social crises. There is a general disillusionment with both the state and institutionalized politics, particularly since the failure of the GPA and the post-July 2013 governments to revive the economy and livelihoods. The people’s disillusionment with institutionalized politics is manifesting itself in the growing movement towards social movements like the church, especially Pentecostal churches where people seek millenarian salvation from the trials and tribulations of the debilitating economic and political crises.

Social Movements in Global Perspective

The Movement of Landless Rural Workers of Brazil (MST) is one of the most important social movements in the developing world. Its core membership comprises of unemployed and semi-employed urban peoples from various regions, including agricultural workers and landless peasants. It was developed under the influence of different Christian currents– the most important being the Catholic Church’s Pastoral of the Land.  Among the reasons that led to its birth was the economic crisis during the years of military dictatorship in Brazil.  As a result of the crisis, the peasants – driven from their lands by droughts and poverty as well as by capitalist modernization of the countryside – had increasingly fewer possibilities of finding work in the cities. The only way out for them was to look for different forms of social actions-land occupations.[12]

The MST has played a crucial role in the agrarian and land reform processes in Brazil through exerting pressure on land acquisition and its engagement of the government in designing land and agrarian policies. It adopted the direct action tactic of mobilizing its membership for land occupations. This strategy has been so successful as to force the government to revive and step up its own land reform programme, including the implementation of a World Bank programme based on the market mechanisms.[13]

Iran has also experienced a series of popular social movement between 1976 and the early 1990s which transformed both politics and society in a fundamental way.[14]  The thousands of poor families from Iran’s villages who had  been ‘squatting’ in its big cities since the 1950s began to organize in the mid-1970s by getting together and demanding electricity and running water.  When they were refused or encountered delays, they resorted to connecting the services by themselves, illegally.  They also began to establish roads, open clinics and stores, construct mosques and libraries, and organize refuse collection on their own.  They further set up associations and community networks, and participated in local consumer cooperatives.  In the work domain, the unemployed also began to organize and establish autonomous livelihoods in the streets of Tehran.  In defiance of city planning laws, they put up stalls, drove pushcarts, set up kiosks and lit business sites by connecting wires to the main electrical poles.  Through their collective action, the millions of unemployed and slum dwellers of Iran managed to establish a more autonomous way of living, functioning and organizing the community and force the authorities to regularize their business operations and extend living amenities to their neighbourhoods.[15]

Social movements have also been actors of social and political change in Africa. [16]  In Egypt, for instance, the rural migrants and slum dwellers of Cairo have quietly claimed cemeteries and state land on the outskirts of the city, creating largely autonomous communities.[17]  South Africa has also had very active social movements since the days of the apartheid struggle through the post-apartheid phase.  One of the most successful of the social movements in post-apartheid South Africa is the Treatment Action Campaign, launched on in December 1998 by a small group of political activists who campaigned for equitable access to health care, and in particular medicines for HIV, as a human right. Combining human rights advocacy with litigation and legal argument about the state’s duties towards health, the TAC managed to bring about tangible improvements in health delivery service.[18]

Further, the Abahlali baseMjondolo (those who live in the shacks), a shack dwellers movement founded in Durban in 2005, is today considered the largest active social movement in the whole country.  The movement arose from Kennedy Road settlement’s protest against the broken promises of service delivery and “a better life for all” made by the African National Congress.  Beginning with a road blockade, the movement grew quickly and now has tens of thousands of supporters from more than 30 settlements.  In the last few years, it has been pushing for the involvement of shack dweller communities in the decision-making process, especially with regard to urban space and social policy issues.[19] It has successfully fought for an end to forced removals and for access to education and the provision of water, electricity, sanitation, health care and refuse removal as well as bottom up popular democracy. In some settlements the movement has also successfully set up projects like crèches, gardens, sewing collectives, support for people living with and orphaned by AIDS.[20]

Clearly, social movements are a critical factor in democratization and social transformation. The people’s collective drive for autonomy and recognition in everyday life creates a big opportunity for transformation and reform, improvements in service delivery and changes in governance practices.

Social Movements in Zimbabwe: Historical Background

Historically, Zimbabwean social movements, like in other parts of the African continent, have played a crucial role in mobilizing people for struggles against racial inequality, discrimination, oppression and land expropriations. The Shona-Ndebele uprisings of the 1890s and the subsequent strikes, demonstrations and protests throughout the 1920s to 1980 were coordinated by social movements that drew on and mobilized popular discontent in the countryside.[21]

Fully conscious about the power of social movements in mobilizing communities for change, the post-independence government tried to contain popular movements through subordination.  In the urban areas, for instance, the state sought to contain the mobilization agency of labour by subordinating it to the state through government control over the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)- the labour umbrella body.[22] To contain the growth of social movements in the rural areas, government organized public action in rural areas through government-controlled Village and Ward Development Committees.[23]

However, in the face of a crisis of livelihoods in the late 1980s and economic structural adjustment in the 1990s, Zimbabwe’s rural and urban communities increasingly began to (re)organize themselves into powerful social movements that demanded increased state protection from the growing hardships, better access to health, education, jobs and business opportunities, and called for increased public consultation in policy formulation.[24]  From the late 1980s, students mobilized themselves into a powerful social force that led opposition to authoritarianism, one-party state, corruption and government neglect of workers and women’s rights.  Pushed by the militant workers suffering from the effects of ESAP and increasingly resorted to strikes, from the mid-1990s, ZCTU increasingly transformed into a formidable labour movement which pushed for radical activism and a dual-agenda against political authoritarianism and neoliberalism.[25] From the late 1980s, there also emerged a new type of women’s social activism that brought together women from diverse social and racial backgrounds and challenged the state for its limited commitment to ending women’s subordination and exploitation in society.[26] The social activism of the 1990s, as some analysts have noted, reached full fruition between 1996 and 1998 when the constellation of social movements drawing their constituents from labour, women, youth, students, intellectuals and the unemployed collectively grouped into a shared struggle under the National Constitutional Assembly.[27]

During the same period, frustrated black business persons began to push both government and white capital to create more opportunities for their members through their own pressure groups, such as the Affirmative Action Group (AAG), Indigenous Business Development Council (IBDC) and Indigenous Business Women Organization (IBWO).[28] The thousands of war veterans who had been demobilized at independence in 1980 also regrouped and mobilized their members under the weight of the economic and social burdens of the 1990s. Their movement turned into one of the most powerful social movements in the 1990s which extracted serious concessions from government, including the 1997 financial payouts which resulted in the October 1997 currency crush.[29]  Frustrated with the government’s slow pace of land reform and confronted by diminishing access to land, demographic pressures, deteriorating productivity of available land and generalized decline in sources of income, the rural population, including both peasants and war veterans, from the late 90s also increasingly applied underground social pressure, including land occupation, to force land redistribution onto the policy agenda.[30]

The intensified pressure mounted on the state by this constellation of social forces from the mid-1990s drove the government into panic mode, and forced it to make major concessions. The unbudgeted 1997 payout of compensation and pensions to war veterans, for instance, was a panic reaction by a government which could not withstand their pressure.  The decision by government to embark on a constitution-making process in 1999, in a move designed to deflate social movement pressure by taking away the initiative from the NCA, was a major concession and climb-down by the government and an indication of its acknowledgment of the collective power of the social forces represented by the NCA.  Its high-jacking and cooption of the peasant-war veteran land occupation movement from 2000 was similarly done in an attempt to deal with pressure from this powerful social movement.

However, since the end of the 1990s there has not been any significant growth in social movements and Zimbabwe’s social movements have actually become ‘socially thin’ and disengaged in community mobilization.[31] There are multiple reasons for this decline in social mobilization and activism. These reasons constitute the core challenges that Zimbabwean social activists need to grapple with as they seek to (re)build social movements.

Opportunities and Challenges in Rebuilding Social Movements

There are a number of opportunities for rebuilding social movements that can facilitate transformative change in Zimbabwe.  First, the continued contraction of the economy, the worsening of unemployment and deterioration in service provision as government continues to struggle to secure funds to meet its service delivery obligations has put the issue of socio-economic rights at the very center of people’s daily struggles and created an opportunity for a renewed mobilization of citizens into organized movements that advocate and fight for socio-economic rights like access to water, electricity, health, adequate nutrition, shelter and education.

Second, the growing disenchantment and frustration with increased economic hardships among citizens which is already building up and manifesting itself in isolated public protests against service delivery failures across the country has created an opportunity for the mobilization of this popular anger and sense of grievance into more organized social protest movements.

Third, various communities and groups across Zimbabwe’s dotted urban and rural communities are already engaged in nascent social movement building processes through their activities exhibiting some levels of collective defiance of authority, reclamation of socio-economic rights and recreation of independent livelihoods in ways that challenges the power of the state and its domination of their lives. The youth and unemployed in the main urban centres of Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare, for instance, are engaged in collective drive for autonomy and recognition in their everyday life by trading in undesignated parts of the city, setting up their own business stalls in the city, operating unregistered transport taxis that do not pay tax to the government and refusing to pay for unsatisfactory services like unreliable electricity and water. They are also consistently and collectively resisting government attempts to clampdown on their informal activities.  Through their action which can easily be dismissed as ‘the rumblings of the street’, these groups are actually engaged in some kind of social protest politics that are an important resource for social movement building.

More recently, citizens in various parts of the country have organized themselves to protect their socio-economic rights and livelihoods.  Examples of such action include the protest by the Matobo villagers of Maleme against the takeover of their community land by a senior government official and the Masvingo Vegetable Vendors’ protest against the Municipal hiking of trading licence fees, which forced authorities to reverse unpopular decisions.[32] University lecturers, students and general staff at the University of Zimbabwe also went on strike resulting in the university’s temporary closure after violent clashes between students and the riot police.[33]  Residents in the key towns of Harare, Bulawayo and Chitungwiza have also organized against pre-paid meters, while their counterparts in smaller towns such as Kwekwe have joined calls for rates boycott against poor service delivery.[34]  These community protest actions all indicate a renewed public interest in community activism and CSO community mobilization which seemed to have disappeared over the last few years.[35]

Fourth, while social movements generally declined in the post-2000 environment there is a still remnant of social movement organizations that have the capacity to mobilize masses even though their capacity has been limited by resource constraints.[36] For instance, the various community clubs and associations in both urban and rural areas are in reality nascent social movements helping their members to organize their livelihoods outside political and state processes.  The residents associations active in the country’s key urban areas, especially in Harare and Bulawayo, are doing important work in mobilizing residents around issues of delivery and citizen rights.  At the same time, the various informal sector organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwe’s informalized workers have the potential to organize and mobilize multitude members if they are provided with adequate leadership, technical and organizational support.  All these movements constitute important building blocks in the rebuilding of social movements.

Fifth, the current fragmentation in Zimbabwe’s political parties and citizen disenchantment with secular politics and national parties presents CSOs with the greatest opportunity to fill the void created in the political landscape, to re-establish their connections with grassroots communities and rebuild social movements.[37] The ongoing political and economic crisis, state corruption and state failure to deliver on public expectations has continued to undermine popular confidence in political parties, the state and its institutions. Many people across the country who have lost confidence in political parties are increasingly seeking advancement and protection as well as empowerment in nascent social movements like the churches.  This movement towards non-secular politics creates vital space for the rebuilding of social movements.

The momentum for rebuilding a vibrant social movement in Zimbabwe is undoubtedly growing, while opportunities are growing by the day.  There are, however, still a number of challenges that need to be dealt with in order to build a sustainable movement.


The first challenge that needs to be addressed in rebuilding social movements is that created by the cooption of Zimbabwe’s social movements by political parties towards the end of the late 1990s.  This is important because their political cooption delivered a mortal blow to their capacity to mobilize society across political party loyalties.  The cooption of both the ZCTU and NCA into the MDC after the formation of the party in 1999, for instance, not only resulted in a huge loss in critical leadership to the party but also seriously weakened these movements’ capacity to organize and mobilize because it polarized their membership and created challenges for their mobilization of ZANU PF supporters and politically non-aligned citizens.[38]    At the other end of the scale, the ruling party and government’s systematic control and cooption of some the war veterans movement and the rural land movements, deflated their capacity to mobilize and organize autonomously. The power of social movements largely rests in their ability to mobilize masses across parties which is rooted in their political and organizational autonomy.[39] Disentanglement from political party politics is therefore important process that needs to be addressed in the social movement rebuilding processes.

The second challenge is the marginalization of social movements and their struggle issues by political parties and CSOs from the late 1990s onwards, particularly after the formation of the MDC which increasingly dominated opposition political space.  The dominance of the MDC and its civil society allies of alternative political space resulted in the privileging of the political approach to democratization and development (state-centric approach) at the expense of the social movement approach (with its focus on citizen empowering).  More importantly, ‘the majority of dominant civil society efforts starting in the late 1990s increasingly neglected the economic and social determinants of democratic development..’[40] The period from the late 1990s also saw a shift within the donor community towards democracy and first generation human rights– the political and civil rights without a complementary discourse on second and third order social and economic rights.[41] This shift in the focus of the struggle by both donors and civic actors over the years has effectively demobilized citizen activism, and this calls for some re-orientation of focus in order to reignite citizen interest in politics.

The third challenge that is closely related to the above and requires to be addressed in social movement rebuilding is that of lack of funding for social movements, particularly rural-based movements and CBOs.  Donor funding preferences for CSOs from the late 1990s has left the few remnant CBOs, a vital cog in the building of social movements, struggling for resources to fund both their organizational sustainability and programming.

The fourth challenge in social movement rebuilding processes is linked to the limited organic linkages between civil society and communities and the disconnect in Zimbabweans’ diverse urban and rural struggles.  While in the late 1980s and 1990s the struggle for citizens’ political and socio-economic was fought in both rural and urban spaces and Zimbabwe’s social movements broadly sought to address issues that appealed to both rural and urban constituents, in the post-2000 period the struggle increasingly became an urban affair.  As the policy advocacy landscape came to be dominated by urban-based CSOs and the shift in the discourse towards political and civil rights occurred in the post-2000 period, the interconnectedness between rural and urban struggles came to be lost and a significant social base of Zimbabwe’s social movement also came to be marginalized from mass mobilization.[42]  Civic activism in Zimbabwe in the last decade and a half thus came to resemble what Partha Chatterjje has described as “the closed association of modern elite groups, sequestered from the wider popular life of communities, walled up within enclaves of civic freedom and rational law”[43]

Because of its ‘politics of location’[44], its increasing reliance on donor support rather than membership, its professionalization and increasing reliance on elitist leadership, Zimbabwean civil society has over the years come to lose its organic linkages to the communities it seeks to serve and represent.  In programming, civil society has adopted a top-down approach that is state-centric, putting an emphasis on elections and national level politics to the detriment of ongoing work at local or provincial level, and does not prioritize local community needs and the work that is being done by CBOs in the communities.[45]

The fifth challenge that needs to be addressed is that of absence of sustained collaborating networks between Zimbabwe’s various CSOs and CBOs.  Social movement building requires strong collaborating networks between social activists, CSOs, CBOs and various grassroots movements.  Currently, there are very few, if any, vertical and horizontal collaborative networks between Zimbabwe’s multiple civics and social organizations.  Relations between Zimbabwe’s civics have in fact been characterized by an unhealthy competition for operational space and donor resources.[46]  The lack of collaborative networks is more conspicuous between CSOs and grassroots organizations.  Whatever collaborative work has been done between CSOs and CBOs has been on an ad-hoc rather than sustained basis.  The tension, competition, polarization and limited collaboration between Zimbabwe’s social movements has constrained their capacity to harness their collective energy for change.   Despite the above challenges, there are a number of opportunities for the rebuilding of social movements in Zimbabwe’s current context.

Concluding Remarks

Zimbabwe’s political and economic context and the shift in popular discourse towards socio-economic rights and people’s struggles have all created great opportunities for the rebuilding of Zimbabwe’s social movement.  Zimbabweans in different parts of the country are already involved in social movement building processes collectively and individually. The frontier of people’s struggles in Zimbabwe, at the same time, is gradually becoming more localized as the national economy continues to contract and resources and services become more restricted.  Currently lacking in all these nascent localized social movement building processes is sustained leadership, organization, direction and coordination.  To facilitate the rebuilding of a powerful Zimbabwean social movement, civil society activists and other concerned citizens need to start working on a strategy of organizing, coordinating and providing leadership and direction to these localized struggle processes.

They need to start working on building movement infrastructure in both old and new geographic locations by creating anchor organizations and networks that connect CSOs, CBOs and citizens at the grassroots level in order to link their local struggles with others across the country and channel their collective energy into a broader mass struggle. This will help these localized movements to gain capacity to link multiple streams of activism and leadership across institutional sectors and also across regions. More importantly, they need to come up with ingenuous strategies of revitalizing public interest in community action and politics and embark on advocacy and awareness campaigns aimed at mobilizing citizens in large numbers to claim their political and socio-economic rights and press for transparency and accountability in governance.  All this implies adopting intervention and mobilization strategies that speak to people’s day to day priorities and concerns at both local and national levels.

The best strategy to mobilize citizens for transformative change in society is through demonstrative leadership.  Issue identification and framing, i.e. the way in which problems and grievances are interpreted and packaged, are also quite critical in social mobilization. Civil society needs to take the lead in framing popular grievances in a way that helps to reignite people’s interest in politics and to mobilize masses towards action. More importantly, as in the 1990s when the issues of governance and a new constitution were identified by civil society as the central issues around which social mobilization occurred, civics need to identify the critical issues around which popular mobilization can be conducted. In our contemporary context where the public is increasingly feeling let down by political parties and the state, Zimbabwean civics need to take responsibility for mobilizing people towards transformative change by demonstrating their ability to foster people‐centred development through promoting ownership and participation.  Others can effectively mobilize communities around transformative change by providing them with capacity building assistance, development assistance or providing services to communities where government and political parties have failed.

Lastly, building sustainable social movements is not only a complex and long-term process but also based on clear visions and values that help to set the terms of the debate and allow different voices and disparate organizations and individuals from different ideologies and communities to work together. Zimbabwean civics thus need to work on developing a vision of Zimbabwe that helps to ‘set the terms of debate’ and define the nature of society they want Zimbabwe to become, including its governance structures and its shared values and norms.  The definition of a shared vision will enable civics to set the agenda and ‘lead from the future rather than lead to the future.’[47]

Zimbabwe’s social movement building processes can learn a lot about organizing, mobilizing and strategy from successful social movements in other parts of the developing world such as Latin America, India and South Africa.

[1] A. G. Frank and M. Fuentes, ‘Nine Theses on Social Movements’, Economic and Political Weekly, August 29, 1987, 1504.

[2] See N. J. Smelser ‘Social Movement’, Encyclopaedia Brittanica, (2013).

[3] J. Horn, 2013. Gender and Social Movements: Overview Report, p.10. http://www.bridge.ids.ac.uk/vfile/upload/4/document/1310/FULL%20REPORT.pdf

[4] Horn, Gender and Social Movements.

[5] Frank and Fuentes, ‘Nine Theses on Social Movements’, 1504.

[6] Social movement scholars such as Jack Goldstone have argued that there are narrow boundaries between social movements, electoral politics and the state and that social movements in most of the world have become an essential part of “normal politics”.  The actors and organisations of social movements are often closely intertwined with political parties: they are not simply “challengers” outside the polity, as the traditional image of social movements implied.

[7] See Smelser, ‘Social Movement’; Frank and Fuentes, ‘Nine Theses on Social Movements’, 1504

[8] N. Brandes & B. Engels, ‘Social movements in Africa’. Stichproben. Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien Nr. 20/2011, 11,1‐15.

[9] Frank and Fuentes, ‘Nine Theses on Social Movements’, 1505.

[10] Frank and Fuentes, ‘Nine Theses on Social Movements’, 1503.

[11] Frank and Fuentes, ‘Nine Theses on Social Movements’,1503.

[12] S. Moyo, ‘History and Role of Social Movements’. http://www.sarpn.org/documents/d0002696/History_role_social_movements.pdf.

[13] Upon occupation of the land, the leadership of the movement on behalf of the encamped settlers, immediately enters into negotiations with the government for legal title to the land, under the government’s own legal provisions for expropriation of landed properties that do not have ‘social use’.  See Moyo, ‘History and Role of Social Movements’.

[14] A. Bayat, ‘Un-civil society: the politics of the `informal people’’, Third World Quarterly, Vol 18, No 1, 1997, 54.

[15] Bayat, ‘Un-civil society: the politics of the `informal people’’, 54-55.

[16] Brandes & Engels, ‘Social movements in Africa’, 1‐15.

[17] Bayat, ‘Un-civil society: the politics of the `informal people’’, 54

[18] M. Heywood, ‘Shaping, Making and Breaking the Law in the Campaign for a National HIV/AIDS Treatment Plan’, in Democratising Development, The Politics of Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa, (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2005); N Nattrass, Mortal Combat, AIDS Denialism and the Struggle for Antiretrovirals in South Africa (Durban, UKZN Press, 2007).

[19] F. Gastaldon, ‘Social Movements and Shack Dwellers in Post-Apartheid South Africa: The Case of Abahlali baseMjondolo in Durban (Master’s Degree in Development Studies and Local and International Cooperation, Faculty of Political Science, University of Bologna,2008).

[20] Gastaldon, ‘Social Movements and Shack Dwellers in Post-Apartheid South Africa’.

[21] D. Sogge, B. Winden and R. Roemersma, ‘Civil Domains and Arenas in Zimbabwean Settings. Democracy and Responsiveness Revisited’ Rozenberg Quarterly: The Magazine, 2010.

[22] See B. Raftopoulos and L. Sachikonye, eds., Striking Back: The Labour Movement and the Post-Colonial State in Zimbabwe 1980–2000 (Harare: Weaver Press, 2001).

[23] Sogge, et. al., ‘Civil Domains and Arenas in Zimbabwean Settings.’

[24] T. Murisa, Social Development in Zimbabwe (Discussion Paper Prepared for Development Foundation Zimbabwe, 2010). 2010. p16; Sibanda 1994:3

[25] The impact of ESAP upon workers and their families led the 1990s to become ‘a decade of unprecedented industrial and social action’. See L. Matombo and l. Sachikonye, ‘The Labour Movement and Democratisation in Zimbabwe’ In: B. Beckman, S. Buhlungu and L. Sachikonye (eds) Trade Unions and Party Politics: Labour Movements in Africa. Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2010, pp. 109-130; P. Bond and R. Saunders, ‘Labor, the State, and the Struggle for a Democratic Zimbabwe’, Monthly Review 57(7), p. 45; J. Sutcliffe, 2013. The Labour Movement in Zimbabwe:, 1980-2012. http://www.e-ir.info/2013/03/07/the-labour-movement-in-zimbabwe-1980-2012/

[26] B. Raftopolos and K. Alexander, ed., Reflections on Democratic Politics in Zimbabwe (Cape Town: IJR, 2006), p. 40; N. Kanji and N. Jazdowska, ‘Structural adjustment and implications for low income urban women in Zimbabwe’, Review of African Political Economy, 56, 1993, 11-26.

[27] Sutcliffe, ‘The Labour Movement in Zimbabwe’; Matombo and Sachikonye, ‘The Labour Movement and Democratisation in Zimbabwe’; E McCandless, 2011 ‘Transforming and Preventing Polarization by Embracing Strategy Dilemmas: An Outsider View on Lessons from Zimbabwe’, 20 April, Solidarity Peace Trust: http://www.solidaritypeacetrust.org/1042/transforming-and-preventing-polarization/.

[28] See J. Muzondidya, ‘From Buoyancy to Crisis, 1980-1997’, in B. Raftopoulos and A. Mlambo (eds), Becoming Zimbabwe: A history from the precolonial to 2008 (Harare: Weaver, 2009),191-192; F. Maphosa. ‘Towards a Sociology of Zimbabwean Indigenous Entrepreneurship,  Zambezia, 25, 2, 1998, 176-98.

[29] McCandless, ‘Transforming and Preventing Polarization by Embracing Strategy Dilemmas’

[30] These peasant and war veteran struggles over land intensified under adverse economic conditions of the 1990s and climaxed in the 2000-2001 occupations. See Moyo, ‘History and Role of Social Movements.’

[31] T. Murisa, Social Development in Zimbabwe (Discussion Paper Prepared for Development Foundation Zimbabwe, 2010), 16; Sogge, et. al., ‘Civil Domains and Arenas in Zimbabwean Settings.’

[32] ‘Maleme: A landmark victory for Zimbabwe’, Southern Eye, 17 March 2015; ‘Vendors, Council Clash in Masvingo’, ZBC, 17 March 2015. www.zbc.co.zw/news…/53893–vendors-clash-with-council-in-masvingo.

[33] ‘Food riot by students force closure of UZ’, Newsday, 18 March 2015.

[34] ‘Residents protest against prepaid water meter pilot project’, Newsday, 28 march 2015; ; ‘Residents reject  prepaid water meters’, Southern Eye, 24 March 2015; ‘Bulawayo Council shelves prepaid meter project’, Southern Eye, 1 April 2015.

[35] See Pact’s Strategic Review Sessions and Reference Group meetings reports (2013 and 2014)

[36] Murisa, Prospects for Political Mobilisation in Present-day Zimbabwe.

[37] Citizenship disenchantment and apathy to politics has particularly worsened in the last few months of worsening economic challenges and hardships. The broad sense is that citizens are not interested in secular politics because it does not deliver results.

[38] The loss of leadership by both movements and their affiliate organizations created a huge leadership vacuum that has been difficult to fill up to now.

[39] C. Garland, (2007) ‘Logics of Resistance: Autonomous Social Movements in Theory and Practice’, Studies in Social and Political Thought, September Issue, 81-87.

[40] K. Alexander, ‘Effective civic activism in Zimbabwe: Issues and possibilities’ (Strategy Discussion Document for Zimbabwe Institute, October 2014, 1.

[41] McCandless, ‘Transforming and Preventing Polarization’; Murisa, ‘Social Development in Zimbabwe’; Masunungure, 2008, 64.

[42] T. Murisa, Prospects for Political Mobilisation in Present-day Zimbabwe (Discussion Paper, September 2014)

[43] P. Chatterjee, 2004, The Politics of the Governed. Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World (New York: Columbia University Press, 4.

[44] Most CSOs are based in Zimbabwe’s main urban centres of Harare and Bulawayo and have limited or no organizational and structural presence in the communities where they implement programmes.

[45] Alexander, ‘Effective civic activism in Zimbabwe’, 2. See also Sogge, et. al., ‘Civil Domains and Arenas in Zimbabwean Settings.’

[46] McCandless, ‘Transforming and Preventing Polarization’

[47] B. Moyo ‘Strategic Issues for Effective Civic Activism in Africa: Lessons from the Continent’ (Presentation at Civil Society Strategy Mapping Workshop, Pandhari Lodge, Harare, 9 September 2014)

Tue, June 2 2015 » Zimbabwe Review

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