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Where are the promises pledged 34 years on?

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YOU promised to uphold and respect the values and ethos of democracy, self-determination as well as the dignity of all citizens regardless of race, colour or creed.

Obert Gutu

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You promised to be our liberators who will forthrightly, diligently and honestly dedicate their vocation in government to the total, holistic and broad-based empowerment of all historically disadvantaged peoples.

You promised that no single ethnic group would be allowed to dominate and domineer over other ethnic groups. We believed  you when you  eloquently and passionately declared that there would be no Karanga hegemony; no Zezuru hegemony; no Manyika hegemony; no Ndebele hegemony and, indeed, that the only hegemony that would be established would be the hegemony of all the people of Zimbabwe from the Zambezi to the Limpopo and from Malipati to Muzarabani.

Do you still remember what you used to tell us?

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April 18 1980 was a historic, momentous and joyous day for all peace-loving and patriotic Zimbabweans who had suffered decades of racial segregation and colonial domination. However, 34 years down the line, we should have absolutely  no excuse for bungling and reducing what was once the breadbasket of Africa into a basket case; a virtual banana republic.

No right-thinking and sane Zimbabwean can ever justify the racist and apartheid policies of the colonial era. In equal measure, no sane and peace-loving Zimbabwean can ever be happy with the replacement of a racist, oppressive and selfish capitalist white bourgeoisie with even more oppressive, selfish, corrupt and intolerant black bourgeoisie.

This is not what the thousands of gallant sons and daughters of the soil who lie buried in mass graves at Nyadzonya and Chimoio in Mozambique perished for.

Most certainly, this is not what the thousands of young sons and daughters of the soil who lie buried in mass graves at Mkushi in Zambia died for.

These patriots died for a good cause. They were patriots par excellence.

The least that we can do to honour their memory is to govern our beautiful country with grace, honour, sincerity, honesty and integrity. Where did this greed and avarice come from?  What informs this selfish and kleptocratic mania that has decimated our motherland?

Where is the honour? What happened to that revolutionary zeal and spirit of Ubuntu that engulfed the nation in the early years of Zimbabwe’s independence?

With an unemployment rate of around 90%, Zimbabwe is a virtual failed state. With more than 80% of the people classified as living in abject poverty because they subsist on less than US$2 per day, our country is in a total man – made mess.

With more than four million Zimbabweans having sought economic refuge in neighbouring countries as well as overseas, it is high time that we take a long hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves a few tough questions.

Why is it that in this day and age; in this digital age of the twenty first century, we still have a nonagenarian as our President? Why has only one man ruled this otherwise very beautiful country for the past 34 years?

Is he the only person with a monopoly of brains and wisdom?  Let me hasten to add that I have absolutely nothing personal against the President. If anything, I admire his cutting edge brilliance and legendary memory.

And perhaps, readers should also understand that the President is my muzukuru since I am a member of the Madyirapazhe dynasty from where his late mother hailed. Be that as it may, I am never one for shying away from speaking out my mind. I don’t want to be entrapped and enslaved in a climate of fear and despondency.

Indeed, it is my constitutional right to articulate what I believe in as long as I am not trashing and abusing other citizens’ rights and privileges.

Zimbabweans should get out of this culture of fear and docility.  Let us learn to call a spade a spade.

That way, we will be able to build a great nation.
We have some career politicians, who have been Cabinet ministers since April, 1980.

Is this state of affairs healthy for our fledging democracy?  We have a Commissioner-General of Police who has been the country’s top police officer for the past 23 years. We have a Registrar-General of Births & Deaths who has been in the same job for the past 33 years.

Surely, something, somewhere, is not right. As Zimbabweans, we should learn to openly and fearlessly interrogate these very pertinent matters.

It is not criminal to ask for the enforcement of your constitutional rights. More importantly, it is not treasonous to simply do your duty as an honest citizen by calling upon the government to deliver on its responsibilities and promises. Why are we so docile? What have we been smoking that makes us so cowardly, timid and fearful?

The Zanu PF government, under the much publicised ZimAsset policy blueprint, promised the people that it will create 2,2 million jobs in five years. One year down the line, not a single job has been created.

On the contrary, at least 300 workers are losing their jobs each and every week as most companies and other businesses continue to downsize, retrench and close down.

Is it criminal for the young people of Zimbabwe to engage in peaceful demonstrations calling upon the government to deliver on its election promises? Come on, folks.

None, but ourselves can liberate us from the prevailing social suffering and economic bondage. We don’t need a bailout package of a meagre $4 billion from China to get out of this man-made hellhole.

We don’t deserve to be globetrotting, begging bowl in hand, kneeling down and requesting so-called bailout packages from other properly run countries whose economies are booming. It’s the politics. Stupid!

Our government has to be held to account. After all, they claim to have resoundingly won the July 31 2013 plebiscite. It is now incumbent upon the government to deliver on its promises. It is that simple. The young people of Zimbabwe demand the promised jobs. They should be given those jobs.

This is the very essence of good governance and responsible, good leadership. There is no need to unleash baton-wielding police officers on peaceful demonstrators. Only fascist and totalitarian governments are morbidly afraid of their own citizens. Democratic governments, the world over, are never fearful of their own people.

Do you even think about us
Do you even care about us?
Will the Dream come true for us all?
In this Promised Land
(I close this piece by quoting some lyrics from South African Afro jazz maestro, Selaelo Selota’s latest album, The Promise.)

Obert Gutu is an international corporate legal consultant with Gutu & Chikowero Attorneys-at-Law based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He can be contacted at gutulaw@iwayafrica.co.zw  www.gutulaw.co.zw

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