A RECENT narration by NewsDay journalist Ropafadzo Mapimhidze of her typical day in Zimbabwe was deeply heart-wrenching.
Election Opinion by Basildon Peta
Here is a middle class citizen whose parents sacrificed everything to send her to school. She has a fairly good job. But instead of enjoying life at the apex of her career and worrying about other greater things, she tells us about how a good many hours of her day are consumed on scrounging for water to flush the toilet and accessing firewood to cook. What should in fact be a life of bliss and happiness by a “black diamond” — as people of Mapimhidze’ s stature are called in South Africa — is now a life of darkness and despair.
Mapimhidze’s story mirrors the lives of thousands of Zimbabwean graduates who now eke a living on such ignominious vocations such as vending airtime at traffic lights and selling newspapers in foreign lands.
Even though Mapimhidze narrated her story to merely vent out her frustration over depravations of basic social amenities and it did not have any political angle, it goes to the heart of why every sane Zimbabwean should cast their ballot today in getting rid of President Robert Mugabe’s evil, cruel and odious regime.
After 33 years of incompetence, corruption and grand cronyism; after 33 years of government of the few by the few and for the few; after 33 years of rampant looting and destruction of our once prosperous economy, surely the moment has arrived to flush Mugabe and his rotten political party down the gutters.
As Mapimhidze narrated, it cannot be (outgoing mayor) Muchadeyi Masunda’s fault that Harare cannot provide clean water to its citizens. It surely cannot be the fault of the MDC-T that Harare cannot provide basic amenities. The fault entirely rests on Zanu PF shoulders. Zanu PF long made governance of the cities impossible by affording Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo overwhelming powers to control municipal councils.
The willy-nilly firing and re-hiring of councillors and Chombo’s regular appointments of buffoons, masquerading as special interest “councillors”, to cause confusion in urban councils has made their proper governance impossible.
A fish rots from the head. An outcome in which the MDC retains governance of cities, while Mugabe retains the Presidency is not what Zimbabwe needs now. We want total change.
Professor Welshman Ncube once said one must be “completely mad” to vote for Zanu PF in today’s elections. The question has also been asked by many: What can Mugabe do for you now that he has not done in 33 years? To add to Ncube’s characterisation, I would say one must have a pea-sized brain to vote for Zanu PF.
How surely can we Zimbabweans, with our fairly better literacy levels, still be finding reason to entertain a nearly century-old leader born, as indeed Associated Press noted recently, “as the Ottoman Empire drew its final breath and Calvin Coolidge was still in the White House”.
In this age of African renewal, do we want to have the dubious distinction of being ruled by the oldest executive president in the world? We desperately need a young energetic leader to chart this country on a new path. Morgan Tsvangirai is the man.
While it is Ncube and Dumiso Dabengwa’s democratic rights to contest elections, neither of them will win the presidency and so why waste votes on them instead of investing ballots in Tsvangirai, the most likely winner, and avoid ballot splitting?
It’s better for supporters of these two men to vote for their parliamentary candidates, while casting the presidential votes for Tsvangirai to enable Zimbabwe to achieve the change it badly needs.
Both Ncube and Dabengwa are formidable politicians and have played important roles in their histories.
But there is no chance in hell that either will win the presidential vote. If those wishing to vote for them invest their ballots in Tsvangirai, the bigger numbers may help forestall Zanu PF rigging.
There is thus no point in wasting crucial presidential ballots on Dabengwa and Ncube.
Let’s consign Zanu PF to the dustbins. I don’t think we need Zanu PF even as an opposition party. Like its counterpart in Zambia, UNIP, its legacy must be uprooted and flushed into the gutters. Dabengwa and Ncube can then provide better quality opposition to Tsvangirai.
Among the atrocities that Zanu PF must answer for is the Gukurahundi massacres in which more than 20 000 innocent citizens were brutally killed on suspicion of aiding dissidents in the early 1980s.
With Zanu PF in power, we will never have a truth and reconciliation probe to bring closure to this sad episode of our history. With Tsvangirai in power, we will definitely have the appropriate response.
In fact, Tsvangirai has promised compensation for Gukurahundi victims. Even though he has spoken out against retribution, the sheer demands for justice will be overwhelming on him and Gukurahundi perpetrators are likely to be brought to justice under a Tsvangirai administration.
So there is every reason for Matabeleland to overwhelmingly support Tsvangirai.
On the economic front, there is no hope in Zanu PF’s manifesto with its mainstream empowerment policies based on entitlement instead of hard work and ability. In contrast, Tsvangirai’s economic programme offers the best hope for Zimbabwe.
It surely must concern every Zimbabwean that our diamond wealth is being persistently looted to enrich a few while we lack the most basic services and Mapimhidze and other middle class citizens have to spend a good part of their days in borehole queues instead of being productive at workplaces.
If we fail to stop Zanu PF from rigging by voting for Tsvangirai in huge numbers and not wasting votes on Ncube and Dabengwa, then Zimbabwe is totally finished.
Another term for Mugabe will confine this country to the dogs, where Zanu PF has already plunged us.
The only way out for this country is to drive these vicious Zanu PF crooks and thugs from power.
Yes, some of them fought in the liberation struggle and for that they must be acknowledged, but having fought in the liberation struggle is no excuse for impunity.
It’s certainly no excuse to loot, wreck and plunder our economy.
As they prepare to rig the polls, let the Zanu PF thugs be also be reminded of John F Kennedy’s wisdom that “those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”.
lBasildon Peta is a journalist, lawyer and businessman based in Johannesburg