In October, 2013, you received Issue Number 120 of our flagship publication, the Zimbabwe Briefing, from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition’s Johannesburg based Regional Information & Advocacy hub, and we went “off air”. That was approximately 3 months after ZANU-PF’s return to power through once again, another controversial Zimbabwe general election.
Honestly, many people were left confused and thrown off balance by the outcome of the election. A not so new, but new in the context, language emerged—“you have got to engage the ZANU-PF government”. As Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, we argued that if engaging meant “going to bed” with the government of the day, then we will respectfully differ. We still wanted to retain our autonomy and be the “torch bearer in times of darkens”. The Coalition went through numerous strategic repositioning processes and reaffirmed the position that it remains a non-partisan space, but clearly political in so far as siding with those that suffer as a result of excesses of the state; the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalised, indeed the majority of citizens negatively affected by the incessant two decades long Zimbabwean crises.
By the time we took the decision to pull out the PDF version of the Zimbabwe Briefing off circulation, we had been receiving constructive feedback from some of you concerning the Zimbabwe Briefing. Part of it was that some felt at that point that we were “spamming” their inboxes as there seemed to be a thinking suggesting that there was a new narrative in town. It was about engaging the state based on some interpretation that “there was no longer a crisis in Zimbabwe”. Of course this was also driven by the fact that once SADC ushered the Zimbabweans to an election meant to conclude the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the regional body disengaged from accompanying Zimbabwe through to a democratic transition. We however kept the Zimbabwe Briefing alive on our online platform, minus circulating it.
In the intervening period, with fatigue on the Zimbabwe question setting in everywhere, we also went back to basics. We had to reengage and remobilise our solidarity partners across southern Africa, in the continent and beyond, to once again brace for another round of accompaniment, as we see a bright future within the horizon. It is however no easy walk to a democratic Zimbabwe, we reckon. We salute the resolute, brave and determined Zimbabweans who have been for the greater part of 2016, engaged in activities to reclaim citizens’ space, voice and agency to hold the government to account.
We are happy to announce that we are now back. We are doing a trial run of our new look Zimbabwe Briefing, which now sits on an online platform where you can click on links to read full articles. Although you will receive a few editions on a weekly basis for now, we will be circulating the Zimbabwe Briefing once every two (2) weeks.
We retain our focus; that of providing cutting edge analysis on developments in Zimbabwe for use by our various strategic stakeholders who include media houses, the diplomatic community, solidarity partners, Zimbabweans in the diaspora and others. Without diverting too much from our core focus, Zimbabwe, we will also be sharing with you occasionally, updates in the form of analysis, on other crisis hotspots in southern Africa, which include Swaziland, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, among others.
In this Coordinator's Note, we deliberately do not delve into the many issues that we know you are keen to have us proffer our analysis. We look forward to an exciting analytical journey with you.