When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. This adage has been used to symbolise the battle between two forces whose effects subject people to unnecessary suffering.
The common interpretation of this saying has tended to focus on the ordinary people as the victims of battle, assuming that those engaged in the fight are not victims of their own battle.
A number of times, this adage has been used to describe the Zimbabwe situation, a battle that has pitted Zanu PF and MDC for over a decade.
And as expected, the people are the grass that suffered.
People were victims of violence, intimidation and experienced a painfully serious regression in development.
The promise of Independence, like in most African countries, has stalled if not died as a result.
Development has also greatly suffered as those responsible for national development diverted their attention and resources to the battle of survival.
What was of particular concern in this battle was that it became a fashionable phenomenon to some, if not enterprising for those who had worn the victim tag and milked it at the expense of national prosperity and pride.
Opportunities inside or outside of the country are accessed on the basis of who made you vulnerable.
This is contrary to the spirit that inspired our brothers and sisters during the liberation struggle.
They never wanted to be victims, but victors even when they were not as resourced as the Rhodesian forces.
Today Zimbabwe finds itself in a situation where people are victims of a battle between fighting elephants.
At this stage, we dont know how many elephants are involved in this battle.
The MDC formations are victims of Zanu PF violence and intimidation and Zanu PF claims to be victims of global imperial forces bent on effecting regime change.
Sanctions have added more oomph to their claim. People are victims of everything that has gone wrong.
Sadly, all of these parties use this as an excuse for not doing things the right way.
In fact, they have found comfort in the victim tag such that for every opportunity, they are quick to flaunt it as a bargaining card.
It has become an excuse for gaining or staying in power prolonging the life span of the government of national unity, a source of comfort for genuine victims of political violence and a source of income for those involved in assisting victims of violence.
It has also become the key to access opportunities that come with being victims of certain situations.
A victim of Western sanctions enjoys favours and protection from the Zanu PF side of government while a victim of Zanu PF-perpetrated political violence has the whole world to explore.
The more and longer you retain or cling to your victim tag, the longer you benefit from the victim project.
Sadly, the real victims, especially those of real political violence, have been shortchanged.
Or they have once again become the grass that suffers when elephants stampede for relief after the fights. It is a cruel world.
What is of concern here is when those engaged in the struggle for freedom and development are now cashing in on the victim tag.
To what extent can we bank on their determination to see change, especially if that change threatens their source of livelihood?
The development and prosperity of a nation lies in its pride. Pride is the platform upon which confidence is built and its absence abrogates people to the depth of vulnerability.
Of course pride does not buy groceries, but its absence subjects people to whims of subjugation, a situation which makes us a nation of beggars a nation derives survival from being victims.
Success lies in the restoration of pride in the whole social structure. This restoration must be driven by a strong will.
But the possibility of this change is daunting in the face of what seems to be a terrifying future.
It has become a viral attitude that underlies the national development agenda.
It is also the main excuse used for not developing the country. On the one hand, Zanu PF use sanctions as scapegoats for their inability to deliver.
In fact, they blame the West for anything that has gone wrong. It is as if the West owns development.
On the other hand, the MDC accuses Zanu PF for stifling their development projects.
The discussion around the electoral and constitutional reforms is predicated on the same victim attitude.
Yes, men and women in power are engrossed in fear, whether real or imagined.
It is made the substantive reason and appropriate decisions cannot be made.
And for those that have been made, they are influenced by populism or to spite the West or some of the elephants involved in the battle.
It is not about the people, future or development of the nation.
Yes, a scared man thinks not of the future, for his future depends on his survival today.
Perhaps the parties involved may be right, but attaining freedom and development is not a donation that comes on a silver platter.
For every country, enemies will always be there.
And it is only the weak, who cry victim at any given platform, who expect to be given freedom and development without putting up a fight.
When one trades the fighting spirit for a victim tag, there are chances that you also lose your pride and ability to prosper, for prosperity is never a donation.
Perhaps it is time we realised that development is now a veritable creation of new men and heroes and which owes nothing of its legitimacy to any supernatural power or assumed enemies.
The future of Zimbabwe does not lie in the fear of the Wests regime change agenda, Zanu PF violence, MDCs alleged sanctions project or whatever elephant is involved in the battle, but it lies in the determination to redeem the lost pride of a nation.