Firstly, I want to congratulate Evan Mawarire and all those who were supporting his initiative. Our freedom can never be delivered on a platter by the dictator, we have to claim it, demand it and if necessary fight for it.
For far too long, too few of us have had the courage to speak truth to power and because of that, this regime has found it easy to isolate and punish individuals who have dared to speak the truth. The time has now come for all Zimbabweans, who want change to come and claim it. We cannot just sit and wait for our politicians alone to be the only ones responsible for change, it is in our interests as citizens of a free country to be the flag bearers of the cry for freedom, justice and transformation.
Zimbabwe is in crisis because we did nothing about it and accepted to be second class citizens in our own motherland. In the process, we have created a little god called President Robert Mugabe, whose word has become law itself, and whose supremacy has become a burden on freedom. No wonder why those whom he has appointed as ministers dare not challenge him nor can they ever imagine an outsider doing so.
Some of us are, therefore, not surprised when Mawarire is confronted by Mugabe’s minions because they seek to protect their master. That is typical of a dictatorship.
There is no doubt that the time for change has come, as many Zimbabweans are beginning to realise that keeping quiet does not pay. We need to all join in the call for change. Zanu PF and Mugabe have lied to us repeatedly, but we cannot accept that anymore. They have blamed everyone else for the problems they have created, but we must now hold them accountable.
I think what is also clear is that unless citizens become more active in seeking change, as demonstrated by Mawarire, we will continue to settle for less. In my opinion, the future leadership of our country will continue to attract the not-so-bright and the selfish and greedy because Zimbabweans continue to treat political activism as an inconvenience.
The message of #ThisFlag is clear, Zanu PF and Mugabe have failed to represent our interests and they have failed to meet their responsibilities in creating a free and prosperous society as envisaged by the liberation struggle. They have stolen from us, abused us and destroyed the potential of our country and its people in their pursuit for political power. Because of that, they no longer deserve our respect nor can we be silent about it.
Zimbabwe needs to open a new chapter and we cannot expect those who have been architects of poverty and beneficiaries of plunder to be part of that chapter.
It is now urgent that we create a new narrative, which says nobody has the monopoly of wisdom and that those in Zanu PF do not represent the future we want to see. This new narrative can only be created by us for us. It cannot be created by the British, whose approach and motives to political change in Zimbabwe are suspect. It cannot be created by the Chinese because we all know that they are only interested in their advantage over us.
We cannot wait until 2018 and even we were to wait, there is no guarantee that we will hold free and fair elections, which will allow us to dismiss Zanu PF from government. Zanu PF will never participate in an election which they are likely to lose. This has been the case since 2000. It is, therefore, naïve to expect change to come in 2018, as long as Zanu PF have control of state resources and can manipulate state institutions.
This means that we need a new formula. We need independently monitored elections in 2018, but in the meantime we must establish a transitional body to arrest the economic decline and prepare the country for political transition through credible elections. Even President Mugabe has recently warned us to expect no change in 2018 even if the opposition has the numbers. This surely must tell us something.
I, therefore, encourage as many of us to come out with the same message as Mawarire has under #ThisFlag. We want answers and things cannot be normal in Zimbabwe until we get those answers. Another Zimbabwe is possible but only through our own efforts and the courage to speak truth to power.
Zanu PF and their leader must go.
Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. He is also the secretary for finance and economic affairs of People’s Democratic Party. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org He writes is his private capacity as a Zimbabwean citizen.