Fellow Zimbabweans, I have been compelled to write this opinion piece not because I am an analyst, party member or political activist. Trust me, I am none of the above. I have been motivated to pen this article by my observation of our situation and the need to survive – some kind of survival instinct.
By Chipo Marondera
Zimbabwe, our beloved habitat, has been in turmoil for well over a decade now, its economy plummeting to unprecedented, if not despicable levels, leaving millions of its habitants in total despair.
An estimated 3-5 million of its sons and daughters have sought refuge in the Diaspora, many of whom have had to invent desperate strategies to gain access into their host countries.
Those that have remained in the homeland have done so at their own peril, literally.
Yes, many have died through curable diseases, hardship and politically-motivated violence. The majority continues to wallow in seas of abject poverty almost two decades since a series of leadership indiscretions triggered a wave of economic and political decline.
Even though a desperately constructed GNU had seemed to have arrested the economic decline growth has remain stunted.
In fact, in the last couple of years, there has been signs of reversal of the little gains that had been made owing to liquidity challenges that the country is facing on the backdrop of non-performing exports.
Low capacity utilization, declining key infrastructure, inconsistent government policy and controversial indigenization laws have put paid any prospect of a turnaround.
We are faced with a gloomy picture unless the status quo is changed. For me, and indeed it appears for many Zimbabweans, the on-coming elections provide a window of opportunity to reverse this trend.
Whilst the process leading to this plebiscite has been anything but clean, there seems to be a consensus that it is an opportunity to chart a way out of this abyss. For me, the survival instinct has been activated.
Yes, I talk about the survival instinct, that rudimentary innate disposition toward self-preservation that we share with all other living organisms on this planet.
It is that mechanism that jolts an animal into employing its fright-flight reactions to deal with impending doom. We have endured many years on end under extreme economic, political and social circumstances.
Our very existence, for us who are still lucky to be alive, has been under serious threat and yet these conditions do not seem to abate.
It is therefore my opinion that given an opportunity like the one July 31 presents, we must resort to our rudimentary instincts, if we are to break away from the gloom that perpetually surrounds us.
We must, out of necessity, divert from our current route into the precipice and chart a new course, a course that will restore hope not only for our current “kiya-kiya” generation, but all future generations.
Both our past and present have been dominated by Zanu PF, a Zanu PF that refuses to change, a Zanu Pf that is so engrossed in its past glory and relevance that it cannot imagine any other life outside that past.
It is unfortunately a past that we, the other Zimbabweans, have been shut out of, for we are accused of not having carried guns during the war of liberation.
For me, removing Zanu Pf from power is not about the MDCs, Zapu, Mavambo, Zanu Ndonga or western regime change agents. It is about giving Zimbabwe a chance – a chance to rebuild its infrastructure, industries, hospitals, schools and colleges, a chance to reclaim its values, aspirations and dreams, a chance to redeem its reputation and relations.
A chance to move away from the time warp our liberators seem to be eternally locked in. Voting against Zanu Pf in this election must therefore be undertaken by all Zimbabweans as a national duty.
We must never be blinded by and made to believe that the fight in Zimbabwe is about the MDCs and their so-called Western sponsors on one side and Zanu Pf on the other.
Zanu Pf has reduced the story to this dichotomy to mask the real issues affecting Zimbabweans. Zanu Pf must be removed from power for the plethora of reasons that Zimbabweans have always wanted to remove them for, long before the MDCs existed.
The emergence of opposition politics in post-independence Zimbabwe, and especially the current opposition, was a direct result of Zanu Pf’s mis-governance which has been littered with violence, incompetence and corruption.
These reasons have not disappeared. If anything they have gone virulent. It is these reasons that have reduced Zimbabwe to its current state. A scrutiny of the party’s conduct in these areas will leave one appalled.
Zimbabweans, by so many measures, are generally a peaceful people. However, a trait of violence seems to have been slowly but systematically inculcated into our culture since Zanu Pf came into power.
A careful analysis of its past will reveal this thread in its DNA going back many years. Such an analysis is however outside the purview of this article.
It is however, necessary to note that right from inception Zanu Pf has pursued and natured a culture of violence which even threatens to exterminate itself. It is encapsulated in its “mutengesi” mantra and “pasi” slogan.
These simply mean anyone who disagrees with Zanu Pf must be killed.
It is a tendency characterized by a culture of exclusion, where anyone who disagrees with the party’s propaganda and fantasy is an enemy, a snake whose head must be crushed. Liberation hero Joshua Nkomo was one such victim. Is it any wonder that every death of a politician, even of its own member, is received with suspicion?
We cannot build a nation on hatred, mayhem and murder. We cannot groom our children into useful adults by socializing them through a culture of murder and chaos disguised as youth training. This must be exorcised from our ethos and national psyche.
When it comes to performance, Zanu PF’s incompetence is material for a Hall of Fame or is it a Wall of Shame? Its prowess in this area is only matched by Robert Mugabe’s 2008 one-man election run-off because they are virtually alone in this category.
It is useless to list evidence of their failures because we all swim in it as if in a sewage pond. There is not even need to ask what happened to NRZ, ZESA, Airzim, ZUPCO, PTC/Telone, urban infrastructure, roads, water and sewage management, agriculture etc.
Any attempt to apportion the blame to the MDCs is simply childish. We all know that these did not collapse four years ago. They collapsed because of the same mentality that informed Zanu Pf that pure diesel comes from a rock in Chinhoyi.
We must debunk the notion that nobody else can run this country except Zanu Pf. In fact, nobody else can ruin it the way they have. I dare say any other alternative will always be better than Zanu Pf.
Over the years since independence Zanu PF has assimilated, natured and perfected a breed of corruption that would turn the devil green with envy.
It has now permeated into every facet of our society and hence has become the subject of many social media jokes.
Who hasn’t heard the one about a traffic cop and his grade son who had obtained bad end-of-year results? Political office is now taken as a full-time career because of the opportunities it presents for corruption.
Ill-gotten wealth is now an albatross that prevents politicians from leaving office.
It is difficult to understand why Robert Mugabe has completely failed to stem corruption in his party and government.
It gives credence to the assertion that he is not in charge of the party. He cuts a desolate figure who dances to the whims of his handlers in the security hierarchy.
By his own feeble admission in Gweru late last year, corruption in his government has become embarrassing.
The bootlicking in the party, which has been replicated in the greater society like an epidemic, is a way of massaging the “hand” that feeds you. In Zanu PF the hand is called “Shefu”, while in general society it is called “MaBoss”.
We must deal with this scourge if we are to survive as a country and not just individuals. The cost to business and the economy cannot be overemphasized. Changing governments and bureaucrats is not just a way of entrenching democracy, but also a means to curb corruption.
Cultist leadership, which has become a form of corruption on its own, must simply not be tolerated in any forward-looking country. Those who continue to dangle 90 year old Mugabe’s candidature are doing it for reasons other than the interests of the country.
If we do not remove Mugabe from power we will be sending a terribly dangerous message that leaders are immortal, infallible and unremovable. Nobody needs such a precedent. Immortality and infallibility are the preserve of God alone.
I rest my case.