By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
24 July 2014
Hundreds of Zimbabweans marched in Harare on Wednesday demanding that Israel restores the rights of Palestinians to water and freedoms of association and movement.
The well-attended protest was organised by Tawanda Makore, President of the Friends of Palestine Solidarity Movement Zimbabwe.
The march comes hard on the heels of the Bring Back Our Girls protest held by Zimbabweans in May in solidarity with Nigerian girls abducted by militants in that country.
Some analysts however have noted that it has become fashionable for Zimbabwean groups to adopt and protest foreign causes while ignoring the problems and challenges at home.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa’s Big Picture programme on Thursday, Makore said the aim of the protest was to highlight and condemn the atrocities being committed by Israel in Palestine.
Asked why his group was not demanding the same rights from the ruling party on behalf of Zimbabweans, Makore said there was no need since Zimbabweans were not experiencing any repression and could move and associate freely.
“The Palestinian issue is much graver,” he said.
He blamed the shortages of water, electricity and everything else on western-imposed targeted sanctions. According to Makore, Zimbabweans enjoy all the necessary freedoms including the freedom to march and that of association.
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said Makore is “deluded”.
“But first, I think Zimbabweans are always more willing to adopt foreign causes rather than their own because of the fear factor. Zimbabweans are afraid to express themselves on local issues other than service delivery because they will be targeted for abuse by the authorities.
“However my argument is that we must show a strong spirit of activism on all issues that affect us, be they the Gukurahundi atrocities, the 2008 killings by ZANU PF and the Murambatsvina. We have to approach these issues with the same enthusiasm as foreign issues,” Ngwenya said.
Ngwenya said Makore was being delusional in saying the issues faced by Zimbabweans were of less importance.
“We have had elections stolen in this country every election year and to hear someone saying they have been free and fair and peaceful is unbelievable,” Ngwenya added.