In April this year, Zimbabwe turns 35 years, by which time our President will be 91.
Develop Me with Tapiwa Gomo
Thirty-five-years has been a very long, undulating and meandering, sometimes if not for the most part, painful journey.
Zimbabwe is a country that started off full of promise of everything Africa had aspired for during the years of struggle.
The colonial systems and post-independence Africa then had hopes that Zimbabwe would be the trendsetter in the continent whose past was darkened by human suffering, slave trade, colonialism and expropriation of resources.
These hopes were indeed justified. Zimbabwe had the second biggest economy in Africa from South Africa which then was under the apartheid system.
We had a highly educated leader who spoke the Queen’s language eloquently.
The system proclaimed the principles of reconciliation and forgiveness, as a gesture of asserting its belief in peace and development ahead of any historical differences, at least on paper.
We were sold to this promise and we retracted into patience to pave way for those promises to germinate, grow and produce the promised fruits.
The day we paved way to the promise, was the day we lost our power to change our destiny. We lost control of our power to decide.
We allowed the system to grow, consolidate its power and take hold of our ability to raise a voice.
The system established a political infrastructure too difficult to change. We can’t blame the system before we blame ourselves.
The war of liberation was about returning our human dignity and our freedom and power to decide, but we opted to be patient allowing those who led the war to mutate into a new colonial system guised under African nationalism.
Once the system got its foot on the pedals of political power, it became clear that nothing and nothing would change until and unless nature took its course. Those who were in power then, still remain in power today.
Those who had the power to give others power, still call the shots. Power can now hire and fire at will. The hopes of a happy nation witnessed at the birth of Zimbabwe have been washed away by political arrogance, brutality and fear.
Those who dared to challenge the system have become long-time professional opposition activists until their time is up. In fact, we have seen opposition voice, fake or genuine, come and go.
Opposition politics has become the flowers that have decorated and propped up the system with an “aura” of democracy even though it does not mean it.
They have given the numbers and the narrative needed for the system to earn its global legitimacy.
But at the end of it all, it never meant to be democratic.
Those who chose to be academic and theoretical about the political system have remained so even when age is catching up with them.
Some today even sit in the echelons of the system, hoping to launch on the seat of power hoping for the day nature makes the final call.
Gender activists are may be the biggest recent losers.
Just last year ago, women were used to fight the system’s battles before they fizzled out of the scene.
But the system remains intact and unapologetic. The current breed of kingmakers shall one day soon go. That is how the machine functions.
In fact, we are all where we are because the system placed us there.
Those in the system were appointed by it and those now out of it were kicked out by the system. Those in the opposition have not declared their willingness to govern, but to challenge the system.
The majority in the Diaspora ran away from the same system. That’s how powerful the system has become.
We have lost our power to decide, but to react to the dictates of the system.
One day not so far away, when Zimbabwean history is read, our children will wonder why we even dared to challenge the system.
Because with every battle waged against it, it used State resources to destroy the economy resulting in more hunger, poverty and human suffering.
With every question we asked, it answered with the ink of human blood.
With every action we took, mega litres of sweat were squeezed out of our bodies.
Our sin will not be that we did not try, but we did not try hard enough.
We sold out by being too patient and paving way when we were supposed to be part of the process in the early years.
We thought the battle was over with the end of the war of liberation.
And we have become losers who can’t decide our fate.