The erudite late Dr Edison Zvobgo made allegoric reference to a village idiot from Ngomahuru who, once handed the baton stick in a relay, ran into the hills with it and never handed it to the next runner resultantly losing the race.
Everyone knows that the essence of a baton is that it has to be passed on in order for a team to win.
Zvobgo was of course speaking figuratively of African despots who have largely been afflicted by the Ngomahuru-virus or syndrome, and who, once they get into office and become leaders, lock the door from inside and flush the key down the toilet.
These despots do not see beyond themselves. They think that without them, their countries would fall apart! Nothing could be further from the truth.
While these despots really think they are God’s gift to their respective countries, their attendant orchestras of sycophants are actually the worst culprits. It’s a disease of the mind!
Realising the dangers inherent in continuous single-man rule and the frailty of the human species, progressive nations the world over have put term limits to holding presidential office.
It matters not how good or competent a person may be or may think they are, or how sycophants may think how good the person is, power must just change hands.
We have all seen what has happened in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Zaire and many other countries.
We saw the instability that was creeping into Zambia until Dr Kenneth Kaunda accepted the principle of multi-partyism and democratic elections.
The same destabilisation nearly derailed peace in Malawi until Dr Kamuzu Banda accepted democratic change.
Mwalimu Julius Nyerere is yet another leader who saw the danger in perennial rule after ruling for well over two decades and retired voluntarily.
It is strange that African leaders who all used the “self-determination”, “democracy” and “one-man-one-vote” mantras as their war cry in fighting colonialism, oppression and racial subjugation, turn against those same values, the moment they themselves get into power.
What is wrong, if anything, with one-man-one-vote? What is wrong , if anything, with the people retaining the right to self-determination and choosing their own leaders without having their hands chopped off, being killed or having their properties destroyed?
Why should people be prevented, on pain of arbitrary arrests, assaults, amputations, abductions and even death, from electing leaders of their choice, and why should people be forced to follow a particular political formation?
Why can’t the baton be passed on peacefully, from one leader to another, upon election by the people as happens in progressive countries?
It was a crying shame to see Zimbabweans setting upon each other like savages in the June 2008 presidential elections after successfully conducting commendable parliamentary and Senate elections in March of the same year.
Zimbabweans are highly literate and are a peace-loving people, who are quite capable of conducting elections peacefully, as happened in the said March 2008 election.
All this violence and intimidation is a deliberate ploy and smokescreen used by those who fear losing power in a peaceful environment.
The violence is deliberately cultivated by politicians, who are the real enemies of the people.
Zimbabwe does not deserve to be taught how to conduct peaceful elections by Sadc or the AU, or to have diplomatic delegations shuttling up and down to keep peace and help us conduct peaceful elections, we know what to do, we should just stop this detrimental culture of intimidation and violence.
We should keep our army in the barracks, where it belongs and de-politicise our police and state security agents and behave like the normal country that we are capable of being.
We should stop the hate speeches on radio and television and start behaving responsibly. Let us stop this bogeyman, delusional rubbish about imperialism and the ghost of colonialism and European nations wanting to recolonise us and start building a nation.
Which country has ever been recolonised?
We must up the standard of our politics and not be bogged down in this retrogressive and backward refrain of the ghost of imperialism nonsense.
Let’s shake-off the Ngomahuru syndrome and lay the foundation of nation-building.