THE reaction to the total collapse of the planned July 31 protest shows how regime change advocates are prepared to go to any lengths to destabilise the country.
They had hoped, like the Arab Spring, the protest would see the toppling of the ZANU PF Government.
How would this happen?
That is a mystery in a country used to a diet of constitutional democracy, where general elections are held every five years.
We must also take note of the timing of the demo.
This was on the eve of the 40th SADC Summit and they must have hoped anarchy in Zimbabwe would have forced the regional body to have the country top on its agenda.
However, despite the failure of the demo, it looks like the organisers had plan B.
No sooner had they recovered from the snub by the masses, than they opted for the alternative plan.
This involved use of social media, in particular, to paint a grim picture of the human rights situation in the country.
And this was through the spreading of outright falsehoods.
Gruesome doctored video clips and images, some from across the country’s borders, were mounted on social media platforms by anonymous contributors.
This was meant to convince viewers of what was happening in Zimbabwe just before and just after July 31.
A sense of revulsion was inevitable after watching these sourceless pictures.
Audios of people giving blood-curdling accounts of police brutality flooded social media platforms.
Their claims were never verified.
Ordinary arrests have been portrayed as ‘abductions’.
Civic groups, opposition parties, including remnants of the disgraced G-40 cabal, and some Western embassies went overdrive in painting a disturbing picture of human rights abuses.
Frightening medical reports of people on remand, by people without any medical qualifications, were circulated.
The tactic of spreading falsehoods and alarm has been used before, but this time the decibels have reached a crescendo.
To the gullible, the total picture was that of law enforcement agents gone berserk.
Then there is Julius Malema, a self-styled revolutionary leading a fringe opposition party in SA.
After befriending G-40 fugitives, still smarting from expulsion from the revolutionary party, he danced to their tune, loudly criticising ZANU PF.
You would think he is an influential member of the South African Government.
Thank heavens, he is not!
Not to be outdone is Mmusi Maimane, a former leader of SA opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).
He succeeded Helen Zille as leader of this party, determined to promote the interests of whites at the expense of those of blacks.
So what else can we expect from such a character, when a people-centred revolutionary party appears delicious to attack.
It is paradoxical that the Zimbabwean Lives Matter hashtag being used to rally people against the ZANU PF Government is the very reason the planned July 31 demo was not allowed.
The protest was not given the go-ahead because the Government viewed it dangerous for people to congregate in the middle of a raging pandemic.
If that is considered denial of people’s rights, so be it.
Moreso when the President urged that we err on the side of caution.
We must accept things are not that rosy in our country because of illegal sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zimbabweans and neutrals outside the country have to take cognisance of this.
However, taking advantage by encouraging insurrection will only strengthen the resolve of a country that got its independence after a bloody struggle.
We consider what AU Chairman Cyril Ramaphosa has done prudent.
Sending envoys to find out on the spot, the much hyped ‘crisis’, is better than reliance on hearsay, especially from social media.