Strategies for non-violent action to address conflicts: a case of Zimbabwe

Hillary J Musarurwa, Olubunmi Akande, Tinashe Rukuni, Maxwell Musingafi


This Conceptual paper proposes a framework for non-violent conflict resolution for Zimbabwe. It argues that non-violent action is the only viable option available to address conflict situations. The option has potential to bring better results and success than the violent option. The key source of power of nonviolent action is the local people and the cooperation of different stakeholders. People power and civilian-based resistance help legitimise the change process and the government that emerges out of the process stays in power longer. The assumption is that if people carry out the action long enough and in sufficient numbers it will lead to an oppressive government becoming powerless and receding. The paper argues that nonviolent action is not spontaneous but follows periods of strategic planning. Plans on how to respond to the oppressor’s reaction need to be developed. So too should the non-violent movement know its resource base and how it is going to mobilise people to take part. Non-violent action needs to be accompanied with strong strategic thinking and communication skills. It also requires a lot of community mobilisation and training. Ordinary citizens need to be skilled on how to act non-violently when faced up with a violent reaction to their demands.

Key Words: conflict, non-violent action, oppressive government, strategic planning, government.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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