By The Solutions Tower Staff
Zimbabwe today reads like a tragic narrative manifest with dead end paths, and has become too many an object of ridicule. With a history of a once vibrant and strong economy, Zimbabwe has now been brought down to its knees thanks to an elaborate combination of both gross mismanagement and a deep seated greedy mentality by those in power in the past 37 years.
An inadequate service delivery system, plus an infrastructure that no longer can sustain essential economic and social imperatives, a rise in stress levels bogging down on a people that has lost hope in rising above the biting levels of poverty, including a continuous erosion to their quality of life, nagging unemployment levels estimated at around 90% and threatening to decimate an entire younger generation summarise present day Zimbabwe under President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.
When Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980 amid a euphoria of what now seems to have been a pyrrhic independence, the inertia to carry the revolution forward ironically suddenly died.
A general lassitude, characterised by an alarming disinterest in politics among many Zimbabweans crept in, leaving mainly only those that had led the liberation war to almost singlehandedly govern the country without input from the majority Zimbabweans, but afterwards just coming back to the people during election period for affirmation as ruler in keeping international practise.
Meanwhile, and with glee, the ruling elite saw this apathy by the ‘povo’ as an opportunity strip Zimbabwe bare and according to them, enough recompense for their liberation war effort. According to the new black masters, civic education to empower the voting public in order that they make informed choices at the ballot box was no longer a priority as this would serve to upset the apple cart, and in the process act as a ‘spoliation’ order against their newly found indulgences.
Instead, various types of propaganda were crafted to create myths that would put the leadership on an unassailable pedestal of reverence so that the public would not at all question their behaviour and much like in animal farm, further pretend to pursue a socialist agenda – just as if they were seized with the welfare of everyone.
In that connection, a series of five-year development plans, shrewdly crafted economic programmes – including the most recent ZimAsset – were crafted amid pomp and fanfare as antidotes Zimbabwe’s sick economy required – all to no avail.
Zimbabweans’ failure to take an active interest in how they were governed, in addition to ignorance with regards their democratic obligations and extent of their rights as a people, gave the ruling elite an unfettered freedom to design a political system weighted in their favour, and in which they could wilfully create a monstrous executive presidency able to preside over a system of patronage, with all the Machiavellian pillars and structures set up in its protection.
Under this executive presidency system, dissent is a breach of the law and, therefore, prosecutable. Before the Unity Accord of 1987, the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo’s PF Zapu was a victim of the Zanu PF government’s intolerance.
People in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces – parts of the country from where Nkomo’s PF Zapu derived much of its political support had, according to the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice, approximately 20,000 civilians murdered in cold blood by the government of Zimbabwe’s North Korea trained militias. This was after the two provinces were accused of harbouring and supporting an armed group thought to be made up of ex-Zipra combatants in an operation code-named Gukurahundi.
This event severely dented Zimbabwe’s political terrain, accounting for PF Zapu’s being swallowed by witty Mugabe, and in the process almost making Zimbabwe a one-party State.
Ruling by Fear
The government of Zimbabwe has also remained consistent, with almost every act of disaffection with it being met with similar heavy-handedness. Those that have dared government have mostly lived to regret. Some, like journalist Itai Dzamara, have disappeared while others like former Guruve Member of Parliament Chindori Chininga perished in mysterious car accidents.
Consequently, Zimbabweans are now afraid of their own government – security institutions included – to an extent that many would rather remain muted even under extreme provocation despite undermining of their constitutional rights. To that end, Zimbabwe now possesses a precarious semblance of a peaceful nation.
Now firmly in control, the ruling party can loot the country without fear of reprisals from an already helpless and cowed populace. So Zimbabwe has since 1980 at independence continued to suffer the misfortune of being ruled by a people bent on power abuses, and afterwards cling to power as a precautionary measure against being exposed in future for past atrocities.
The above is evident, judging by the manner in which Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC T party has been treated by Zanu PF and government, just as if it were a crime to hold contrary views, as well as participate in opposition politics. Right from its formation, MDC T’s main crime was its ability to attract both political and financial support from former white commercial farmers.
Since 2000, MDC T has had some of its members murdered in cold blood, including by known assailants who never tasted prison life but were immediately granted clemency by President Mugabe. Other MDC T members have suffered the misfortune of being detained and tortured, with quite a number even disappearing without trace.
For their part, white commercial farmers have had their land compulsorily acquired in what was dubbed an agrarian reform programme. All what these former white commercial farmers had toiled for, including farm machinery, ready-to-harvest crops and all their livestock, was taken away as retribution for supporting MDC T’s regime change agenda.
To the authorities, the food shortages which consequently stalked the nation were peripheral for as long as the means justified the end. Needless to say, a larger chunk of appropriated farmland belonging to former white commercial farmers ended up in the hands of top officials, both in Zanu PF and government.
The above has sadly become true in most of Africa’s political modus operandi, with leaders elected mainly on the basis of only their past heroic exploits during their time in the struggle for independence. No other matching leadership credentials to the needs of the job at hand are ever consulted.
Clearly, Zimbabweans have therefore been held at ransom by those claiming to have liberated them. They have had to pay through the nose, with both their minerals and other national resources going straight to benefit a few remaining liberation stalwarts in order to pamper and appease them for their part in “bringing independence” to the country.
Precedence in countries such as The Gambia, the Ivory Coast, Libya, among others, has pointed to the sometimes fragile nature of dictatorships, including one nearer home.
In short, citizens of Zimbabwe must grasp their civic duties and obligations to responsibly engage in democratic processes for which thousands lost their lives in dislodging colonial Britain, and in the process also constitutionally eject the liberator now turned oppressor.
Fear …just has no place in any revolution.
In the end, Zimbabweans must shed fear and hold politicians to account.
Only then, will democratic space open up, after that transparency will become the new normal and economic progress will then follow.
Copyright © www.thesolutionstower.com , 2017 All Rights Reserved. The Solutions Tower Article may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission