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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org