HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsZimbabwe needs you now more than before

Zimbabwe needs you now more than before

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I am a lawyer by profession and a politician by choice. I am a citizen of Zimbabwe.

Obert Gutu

I am also a citizen of Africa. Above all, I am a global citizen. To me, politics is a vocation and not a profession. My passion for the practice of law is undying.

Law and politics are two sides of the same coin. You cannot fight for equality, justice and fairness as a lawyer without treading into political territory.

In my book of rules, politics is essentially about fighting for justice, egalitarianism, good governance and accountability. Thus, I see an inevitable symbiotic relationship between law and politics. The law influences politics and, conversely, politics also influences the law.

I hate it when people say they hate politics. How can you possibly hate something that invariably and fundamentally affects your very essence as a human being? Whether we like it or not, everyone is affected by politics in one way or the other.

Although some people hate politicians, it is important to realise that politics is the very bedrock of human existence. Politics is generally defined as the art or science of governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs.

When a nation practices bad politics, the most likely scenario that develops in that particular nation is the emergence of totalitarianism, intolerance, fear, corruption and socio-economic deprivation in both the public and private sectors.

My decision to participate in active politics was basically informed by my desire to make a meaningful and concrete contribution in the manner in which my country is administered.

I was very comfortable practicing law and making some money for myself and my family. But then, I realised that life is not only about filling my pockets with money and buying lots of cars and properties. There was a void in my life that was yearning to be filled.

On more occasions than one, I would ask myself a number of tough questions. What am I doing to make Zimbabwe a better country not only for myself and my nuclear family, but for all its citizens? What is the point of ignoring politics when everything that could go wrong in my motherland has gone wrong? What is the point of becoming a small island of rich and plenty in a sea of poverty and mass deprivation? After pondering over these questions for a long time, I decided to become an active politician. And believe you me, I don’t regret making the tough decision to become an active politician.

Patriotism is simply defined as devoted love, support, and defence of one’s country. I am a patriot.

I am absolutely convinced that it is my generational challenge to make a positive contribution towards the socio-economic and political development of Zimbabwe. This is not about party political configuration.

My brand of politics is largely influenced by the teachings and philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Che Guevara.

This, perhaps, explains why I have always been virulently opposed to naked capitalism and neo-liberalism. We all remember the havoc and mayhem that the neo-liberal Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) brought to the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans in the 1990s.

Naked capitalism is never good for any country.

This is my clarion call to the Zimbabwean middle class and educated professionals both within the country and in the Diaspora: Please get out of your comfort zone now! Your country needs you now more than ever before. We cannot afford to look aside and watch as our beloved fatherland is torn to shreds by a greedy, corrupt and intolerant political elite.

We owe it to our children and to the future generations to stand up and fight for what we know and believe to be just and equitable. There is no gain without pain. When you are fighting an evil and corrupt system, it is almost equivalent to fighting the devil.

You have to be strong and determined. This is our time to drive the devil to the gates of hell. I would like to see more professionals getting involved in active politics.

My own law practice has suffered tremendously because of my decision to embark on political activism. I have lost some very good corporate clients who feel uncomfortable briefing me as a lawyer simply because I am a PEP [A politically exposed person], as my daughter Enia loves to refer to me!

But then I have absolutely no regrets about my bold decision to become an active politician. Posterity will never judge me harshly for sacrificing to make Zimbabwe a better place for all its citizens.

And I don’t want to become a permanent politician. As I have already mentioned in this piece, the law is my life. One of these fine days I dream of taking my lawyering to the next level. I dream of a stint at the International Court of Justice at The Hague or even at the International Criminal Court.

I also dream of a stint at the African Union and/or the United Nations. We should not develop and sustain a culture of career politicians. We should learn to give way to young, up-and-coming politicians. We are not getting any younger.

Zimbabwe and, indeed, Africa need a new start. I don’t want to behave like a recycled teenager and as such, I have given myself a definite timeline for my political activism.

Life is in constant motion. Nothing lasts forever. No one can turn back the hands of time. The old collapses into the new. Fashion comes and goes. And whatever we do, we should always put Zimbabwe first!

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