Zim’s 4th Chimurenga: A battle of ideas, not guns


As President Robert Mugabe sleeps on the bed he has created, so must those that have been complicit in creating that bed.

Report by Vince Musewe

People queue to cast their vote at Mt Pleasant High School yesterday
People queue to cast their vote at Mt Pleasant High School yesterday

It is incontrovertible that when leadership ceases to be sensitive to the needs and aspirations of its followers, the followers will rebel and choose those leaders whom they think are most likely to represent their aspirations.

The art of leadership, therefore, is the ability to anticipate and understand the shifting trends, opinions and aspirations of the people you may seek to lead, and then act to meet those needs; otherwise one will be rendered irrelevant.

By criminalising open dialogue, criticism, freedom to associate and stifling personal liberties, as a leader, you inadvertently starve yourself from information on new ideas and trends, which are critical for you to continue to be an effective leader. Inevitably that vacuum is then filled by informers, spies and charlatans who manufacture and manipulate the information you get so that they may continue to gain favour from you.

That eventually makes you irrelevant as you become unaware and uninformed of the true reality on the ground. You can be then perceived as insensitive to the needs of your followers and incompetent, no matter what good you may have done in the past.

That is the bed Mugabe has made and must now sleep on it. The use of violence and coercion to force Zimbabweans to agree with his ideas has not created a loyal followership, but an unwilling and anxious people who will at the first opportunity they get to vote, dismiss him from power.

This is the reality that those in the military, the police and intelligence services have helped him to create, but are refusing to accept the inevitable consequences. As Mugabe sleeps on the bed he has made, so must those that have been complicit in creating that bed.

The 4th Chimurenga has arrived; it is a battle of ideas about the future and cannot be won through the use of a gun as was the 3rd.

This should be instructive to those that are seeking political power in Zimbabwe. Our politics has to change, and the relationship between the governing and the governed has to be based on respect.

In order for that to happen, it is up to all of us Zimbabwean citizens to realise that as long we remain quiet and unconcerned, we are bound once more, to afford an opportunity for our leadership to abuse our vote.

I expect that we will insist that it cannot be business as usual when a new government comes into power. No longer must we expect them to shape our future without our participation. No longer must we allow them to prescribe solutions to our problems while ignoring what we think should happen.

We will need to be activists to breathe life into a new participative democracy enshrined in our new Constitution. Zimbabweans can no longer be spectators in their own country nor should they be afraid.

The opening of media space is going to be critical for this to happen. Zimbabweans have, in the past, been starved of new information that they could have used to think and act differently. This created a sense that there is no outside to Zanu PF.

The repetitive narrative that has been regurgitated in State media sought to create conformity based on lies and the manipulation of events through the media, to justify a centralised political system with no new ideas about the future. It justified the continued political and economic domination of many by a few.

The suffering we have endured must surely be a lesson to all of us that as long we remain passive, our circumstances will not change.

In my opinion, freedom comes with responsibility and I doubt that most of us are aware of the power we have to change our circumstances.

Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com


  1. When the only tool in the toolbox is hammer, every problem looks like a nail. This is what ZANU was used to, every problem needed violence to solve. But that era is gone and gone for good. For the 2008 violence, they will pay heavily this election.

    • The problem of the education of blacks kids and adults after independence was not solved by violence, neither was the health problem solved by violence. Housing was not solved by violence, gender equality was also not solved by violence neither was unity sustained through violence. There is a danger in focusing too much on your immediate needs, you end up blind to the good things and curse everything else that you should be thankful for. Let is be good and fair critics instead of falling for the rhodie crafted lie that says everything has been downhill since independence or in other words, Smith and rhodesia were better. Usarase gwara, mwana wamai.

  2. That’s your opinion . To me, the peasant farmer who smiled all the way to the bank after a good tobacco crop , Mugabe is my hero. He transformed my life , my family is happy . Frustrations and bitterness are yours guys lets see who wins .

    • If I get you well you vote for Mugabe because you have personally benefited from his policies, however chaotic and beneficial to a few they are. What of everyone else suffering from the chaos? Selfish? Of course most people who freely vote for Mugabe do so because of selfishness. They thrive in the chaos and would never make it in a properly run country. They would rather have the majority suffer so that they and their families are happy. The cannot stomach a better Zimbabwe: actually they don’t care about Zimbabwe but themselves. Shame!

  3. Maingowawata musiri pa Voters Roll. THOUSANDS TURNED AWAY AT POLLING STATIONS ! Machinja iwayo. Chickens have come home to roost. Bob and his party are leading the pack! Beware of the ides of Raila Odinga. Musatamba naBhobho!

  4. The camaraderie that was excercised in the queues at the polling booth where I voted was something I thought we had lost with the abuse that we have lived with for the past 14 or so years..there were smiles everywhere. People who were turned away from one polling station with the words that their names did not appear on the voters roll were a resilient lot..I met one guy who hot footed it from Highlands, all the way to Epworth and yet another who drove to Chivu to just cast the majic vote. Together with two colleagues one who who had come all the way from Budiriro to Greendale, we started off at Courtenay Sealous then had to end up hotfooting it to Msasa Training Centre..these tales were repeated all over the country..This says, people still have faith in the electoral system…ZEC have to be very careful how they manage the process at the end. I for one am confident they will acquit themselves well..Could someone whisper into the ear of Police Spokesman that she can still do her work without the uncalled for bellicocity, it makes her appear like she has things to hide..we all know she has nothing to hide so why this belligerancy..By the way people voted peacefully not because they were scared of the ZRP but they knew it was the right things to do..and it is the collective political leadership that should claim credit for the quiet and friendly atmosphere..it was NOT the ZRP, far from it..so stop appropriating the credit to yourself Madam..and hey you are the Public Affairs face of the ZRP, tone it down a notch.

  5. Chimurenga for ideas is quite noble and applaudable, but the only crux of the matter is when those opinions diversity are wickedly turned into smear campaign and propaganda, then it doesn’t serve its purpose, Idealism is a phenomenal human quality that drives the country to prosperity if appropriately harnessed but if it is used to invite sanctions in order to hurt people stomarchs so that people inreturn revolt against the government then that is absolutely unpalatable, everyone loves change even us the zanu pf die-hards but it is the questionable background that change is been distilled from and that will inevitably make us adamant to change, urging wa mugabe to win this election even if it means by hook or crook, through sanctions the mdc already complicitly rigged this elections!

    • There is a belief that the majority side with white people and rhodies; that is and will never be a reality. There are many of us who appreciate what out government does for us, from when we were young, receiving free education and healthcare to now. We also are smart enough to connect the dots and see the link connecting the crumbling of the economy and subsequent destruction of education and health services to the humbling of white farmers and the sanctions that followed. For us, it is a war while for others there is no connection; it is just our government destroying what Smith built because they are idiots. We have over 94% literacy, we can think for ourselves hence victory after victory since 1980. Only the idiots believe that MDC and rhodies have the majority of the african voters and ZANU Pf is hated by everyone!

  6. Problem yevamwe vedu pano ndeyekufunga kuti mukaziva facebook ndoo kuvhota. Your whole lot are stuck outside the boarders kwamainyepera your host countries kuti muri kudzingwa nekushungurudzwa ne ZANU. after years of despair in a foreign country maakuda kudzoka but u still dreaming that your imagined suffering was true and you want us people vari kumusha tikuvhoterei president wenyu. Sorry God hates liars! you lied against Mugabe mukati tiisirwe ma Sanctions and you still wish us to carry your will. LISTERN Zimbabwe will choose its leader its our choice as Zimbabweans We have dipped our fingers in ink! imi makavhota pa internet so tichaona kunowira tsvimbo ne dohwe!

    • thats right – if you have been building a life in the UK on lie one day the truth will catch up with you and you will have to make peacewith your maker. This is not about who we prefer- its about the principle of choosing our won leaders. dont go out to tell the world lies about your country just because you have fallen in love with a foreign country instead of staying here to build your own. Budayi mumanyepo guys only then can God respect you

  7. @ Vince, shifting trends are this: The empowerment and economic emancipation of the indigenous people of Africa, Australia, South America, Asia and the Middle East from White people; It is not the economic enslavement of the indigenous people of Africa, Australia, South America, Asia by White people. These are the winds of change, starting in Zimbabwe and they cannot be stopped! This is the end of the great British and American empires!

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