CANVAS: New insights into subversion emerge

Inside the world of a Serbian national “who travels the world fomenting revolution”. Srdja Popovic has been at the centre of training anti-government activists from his native Serbia to Sudan, Swaziland, Venezuela, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Burma, Vietnam, Belarus, Syria, Somalia and Zimbabwe.
Popovic is the founder and executive director of the Belgrade-based Centre for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) and together with his colleagues he has worked to train activists in 46 countries, according to WikiLeaks in details that The Herald has unearthed.
“His organisation began working with some Egyptian and Tunisian protesters in 2009, teaching skills that helped bring down their presidents and spark regional revolt,” explains WikiLeaks.
CANVAS recently came to notice when The Herald’s exposed that a group of shady organisations and anti-government activists with strong links to the opposition MDC-Alliance were in recent months hard at work laying the groundwork for civil unrest set to be unleashed this month.
Foreign organisations are reportedly co-ordinating workshops and training in the country, the region and overseas to effect illegal regime change against President Mnangagwa’s Government.
The messianic role of Popovic, who according to a Reuters story, “repeatedly preaches to groups from Myanmar, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Belarus and elsewhere” about overthrow tactics, has not escaped notice.
Recently, a number of activists were arrested and appeared in court on chages of subversion, with leaders of civil unrest having received training in the Czech Republic and the Maldives.
The trainings have been linked to the January 14 to 16 violent protests.
According to the organisation, CANVAS has confirmed that in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland are part of its projects under the banner of “Ongoing Struggles” where it categorically states that there are ongoing projects with coalition of opposition supporters and the NGO sector ( see graphic ).
It is believed that with the help of CANVAS activists linked to the opposition have been seeking to be the cog in mayhem slated for this month. Organisations identified in the plot include Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellency, Centre for Community Development, Trust Africa, Rosaria Memorial Trust, and Community Tolerance and Reconciliation Trust.
Five of them were arrested on returning home last month and charged with plotting to unseat President Mnangagwa.
The State alleges the activists received training in organising mass protests, the use of small arms and counter-intelligence in the Maldives.
The five include Centre for Community Development’s George Makoni; Tatenda Mombeyarara, from the International Socialist Organisation; Gamuchirai Mukura from Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (Cotrad); Nyasha Mpahlo of Green Governance Zimbabwe and Farirayi Gumbonzvanda of Rosaria Memorial Trust.
Addressing delegates at the party’s congress in Gweru recently, MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa suggested that there will be massive protests in the country soon after the indaba.
CANVAS was founded in 2003 by Popovic and Ivan Morovic and has been involved in the training of anti-government activists in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Iran, Lebanon, Tibet, Ukraine and Venezuela. CANVAS has managed to effect violence in uprisings in most of the mentioned countries with only Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Belarus still peaceful.
MDC activists who attended the training in the Czech Republic were reportedly sponsored by Trust Africa (Zimbabwe), which is headed by Briggs Bomba.
Bomba also heads Zimbabwe Alliance, a donor collaborative sponsoring regime change efforts in the country.
According to documents leaked from Mr Chamisa’s office, the MDC and Trust Africa seconded six members to the workshop, which was held in Prague, from May 6 to 10.
The objective of the workshop was to share experiences of violent protests during transitional processes in countries such as Argentina, Georgia, Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic, among others.
National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an American private and non-profit organisation which focuses on “strengthening democratic institutions”, funded the workshop.
The MDC-Alliance was primed for violence and to cause mayhem upon the land from the word go. Last week the Government warned against the perpetrators of violence and illegal demostrations in the country.
Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said: ‘’Government has noted with concern the subversive messages circulating on social media inciting people to disturb the prevailing peace and stability by engaging in illegal activities such as looting, burning property and assaulting people going to work.’’