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Save Zimbabwe Campaign's Effectiveness and Viability In Question


The less-than-impressive results of protests called in the past two weeks by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a coalition of civic organizations and opposition parties, have raised doubts as to the effectiveness of the ad hoc opposition organization.

The Christian Alliance at the center of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign has established itself as a significant player within the broad Zimbabwe opposition movement. But it is unclear if the Save Zimbabwe vehicle it launched will have as much staying power.

Nationwide protests called for Wednesday in which Zimbabweans unhappy about the country's chronic shortages of food, fuel and other goods and commodities, and the effective one-party rule of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF formation, were urged to beep car horns, bang pots and otherwise make noise at lunchtime.

As on the preceding Wednesday, the public response was underwhelming. The initial explanation after the fizzled Nov. 22 protest was that the word had not gotten out. But civil society sources said this week that differences of opinion over the strategy had emerged within the organizational membership of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.

Civil society sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, say some organizations are under pressure from their sponsors, while others fear state reprisals.

There was never any prohibition on coalition members pursuing their own strategies - but the Save Zimbabwe Campaign does not appear to be concentrating forces.

Members including the National Constitutional Assembly, the Zimbabwe National Students Union and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions have staged separate protests. The Movement for Democratic Change faction headed by Morgan Tsvangirai has yet to make good on its March pledge to organize mass civil disobedience.

Political analyst Farai Muguwu, national coordinator of the Civil Alliance for Democracy and Governance told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the leadership of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign needs to take a more forceful stance to promote cohesion and increase the effectiveness of the approach.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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