Zimbabwe: The Second Lost Opportunity

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President Mnangagwa's rhetoric on corruption is not matched by solid action against well known looters
President Mnangagwa's rhetoric on corruption is not matched by solid action against well known looters

All nations, like individuals, are presented with priceless moments in their lifetime to unite, reconcile and pull up a patriotic, non-partisan expression of unconditional love for their motherland. Such opportunities need to be embarrassed and cherished by all, irrespective of age, sex, region, colour, race, religion and or creed. Such opportunities usually come on the heels of a protracted struggle. Reference could be drawn from the French Revolution, the American war of liberation and even our Chinese friends.

By Onismo Soraidema.

The above forces take eternity to strike a balance. When that happens, the opportunity needs to be grabbed with both hands. It is during such moments that strong nations are built. It is in such times that authentic leaders mend relations, champion national healing, reconcile parallel forces that threaten national interests and make genuine commitments to strengthen critical institutions. It is such moments that real leaders’ harness and explore to install confidence in citizens and promote love amongst peoples of a great nation such as Zimbabwe; that is patriotism. It is at such times that real leadership meets the people and the people meet their leaders in a mutual and conducive atmosphere and make pledges to put national interest first and ahead of parochialism. It is no time for politicking.

Zimbabwe woo to you my beloved motherland for you have been presented such precious opportunity, not only once but twice! Oh my God! Twice and you have squandered both! You blew them both into the hot African air! I wonder when your vindication and redemption shall be. The golden egg was laid, and you crushed it in its tenderness, and keep crushing it.

In 1979, I am told that blacks, whites, Ndebeles, Shonas, Tongas, Vendas, all Christians, traditionalists celebrated together, at least they found each other. The nation was caught in a state of euphoria. They were too drunk with untold joy (the masses) to care much about their differences. They were celebrating the end of a dark epoch. What a time! What an era. God did not create me too early to be able to cherish this momentous era. All I know is that their hearts were ready for a new beginning. It only needed a leader to rise above the limits of selfishness like former South African President Nelson Mandela to exploit this golden opportunity.

Did anyone rise?

I won’t say much about this for I was born too late to know the truth. All I have is a deliberately doctored and distorted history of the aftermath. All I know is that 20 000 supposedly free Zimbabweans were killed three years down the line in cold blood, in an independent nation. All i know is that former President Robert Mugabe claimed he survived a series of murder attempts in an independent Zimbabwe, having taken over from the late monstrous former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith. I also read that J. Nkomo, father Zimbabwe, an icon of the war freedom had to run for his dear life in a country which he sacrificed for and dedicated his whole life to set free!

What’s the hell Zimbabwe?

I was born eight years later. By then, the nation was almost a decade awaiting another chance. Another chance for national healing. Days passed by, weeks, months then years and still the time did not come. Abject poverty, hatred and politicking is all I and my generation were forced to breathe, eat and drink. We witnessed forces that drifted us apart as each day passed by. Corruption and scandals ruined our motherland and malice resulted. We were taught to keep our silence and never to question the authorities. Anyone who dared cry was chopped and Dzamara became a classical example.

Artificial death greeted us like dawn. It became the order of the day. Institutions weakened, polarisation grew, and the economy screamed. Our soldiers were captured by individual gluttons and so was our supposedly unparalleled police, CIO, Zec, chiefs and freedom fighters, the gallant sons and daughters of the soil were turned from liberators to villains. Our protectors were turned into a people’s enemy! Cry my beloved motherland! Optimism slowly faded as hopelessness sank into our little hearts and we accepted poverty and anarchy as our fate. Some of my friends ran away to foreign lands. I am told they are toiling there with their pride and dignity stripped of them.

Almost four solid decades passed by as we thought God had forsaken us, but He smiled yet again. Waal! What an historical and hilarious moment to witness. This time around, I will not depend on archaeological or written evidence for this history, I am the v11, the primary evidence. I saw it myself, I partook in this one. No one will take advantage of me to force lies into my little head.

War veterans, soldiers, people of colour at home and abroad, Bulawayo, Harare, all from Zambezi to Limpopo, the young and the old, all creeds, the poor and the rich finally struck a balance! We held the flag high as we shouted for a new era.

What a time. We climbed onto military tankers, yes, our own military tankers, men and women in uniform and civilians alike sang Simudzai Mureza Wedu WeZimbabwe in unison. It was our thing. Our own time of eschatology. A great feeling, indeed. Thank you, God. We had seen too much of lies, selfishness and lack of unity of purpose to let this opportunity slip.

We had learnt our lesson never to put politics ahead of national interest. General Constantino Chiwenga grabbed a copy of our Constitution in his hand, raised it as he proudly declared that no one was above the supreme law. It was like fiction, too captivating to be real, or did it just end as fiction?

Tears of joy ran down our cheeks as we marched to the Zimbabwe Grounds. We were also reminded it is there where it all begun. We were reliving the dream. We had waited for much too long.

No mortal could dared take that one from us. We glued our eyes for the first time on ZBC TV, our national broadcaster, to witness an historical event in the making. Foreigners praised us and helped us celebrate the beginning of a golden era. We collectively called it a New Zimbabwe, in wild jubilation. We didn’t give a chance to another demise.

Could this be another dummy sold to us?

No! Not this time.

We sang for a Chiwenga, a Mnangagwa, a Matemadanda, a Sibusiso Moyo who promised us a nation we all longed for. They promised us and assured us a new way of doing things,’ a new dispensation’, to quote their learned diction. For once, we buried the hatchet. Oh, my God! How wrong were we!

I thought, perhaps, in my wildest dreams, that my listening new president would take this rare opportunity to say sorry to Matebeleland and Midlands provinces for the early 80s, to free the men and women in uniform, to strengthen our judiciary, to set free our electoral apparatuses, unite our people of colour, unite generations, free the old in rural Uzumba who have been taken advantage of for so long. I expected action. I thought the new dispensation would exploit the state of euphoria and say sorry for all the corruption done and build a true democracy.

How wrong I was!

This is how it all ended. I am told corruption has continued unabated. Massacres of our kith and kin continues in daylight as on August 1. Some say Zec is still baby to a certain party. My friend told me that our chiefs are now political agents. Is that true? If true, then shame on you Chief Charumbira. A friend told  me  that you seem to have forgotten the cause of your own people because of the luxury of a double cab vehicle that you’re driving in roads that resemble a potato field at the farm you got as a token for keeping quiet when your people were maimed and killed by the servants (politicians) who should be serving and saving them.

Is it true that you and your 254 other chiefs have been reduced to mere stooges? If true, I kindly ask you, Mambo, with all due respect, to reflect.

This tragic bollard will go on and on. It protrudes from an innocent heart. A heart that is broken beyond repair. I heard that the new man at State House listens to the voice of the people. Please, if the reader of this bollard has access to the leafy, tightly guarded house’s suggestion box, just drop this one in for me. Tell him that we expected more than this. Didn’t we deserve better?

Tell him that we don’t hate him as his bootlickers would like him to believe; we only wanted him to take advantage of the November days which brought this country a rare opportunity to heal the wounds and usher in a new way of doing things. We are ready to sing him praises as a true and undefiled hero of the Second Republic. All we want is a full package of freedom, a new era of love and patriotism, a time to welcome our brothers and sisters back home from their forty years in the wilderness.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Is it too late? Only God knows.

To God, I say, please give us another chance, maybe we will not loose of it the third time around.

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