“Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus and we petty men walk under his huge legs and peep about to find ourselves dishonourable graves. Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings. What should be in that ‘Mugabe’? Why should that name be sounded more than ours? Write them together, ours are fair names; sound them, they doth become the mouth as well; weigh them they are heavy; conjure with them; they will start a spirit as soon as ‘Mugabe’. Now in the names of all gods at once, upon what meat doth this our ‘Mugabe’ feed, that he is grown so great?” (This, of course, is borrowed from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.)
Opinion Vince Musewe
When a man’s power is derived from the pathos of the weak and penury of the masses, there is no greatness in that.
When a man ascends to the highest office of the land because he expunges would-be contenders through brute force, all there is no greatness in that. When politics, power, unadulterated greed becomes a man’s legacy, there is no greatness in that. Greatness surely only appears when the world has become a better place because we have lived.
The reaction by President Robert Mugabe and his underlings to the demands of the people of Zimbabwe through the #This Flag, #Occupy Africa Unity Square and #Tajamuka, among others, for me reflects more on the weaknesses of the dictator and his praise-singers than their strength and confidence.
Mugabe’s role in our freedom has been deliberately embellished by himself and by those who seek to exploit the situation. At 92 he has become a law unto himself, untouchable, unquestionable with indescribable arrogance, unfounded conceit and unbelievable ignorance. A little god who must never be confronted nor interrogated. This is the culture which Zanu PF leadership have nurtured through their cowardice for many years. The Zanu PF youth in turn, must mirror this vapid mentality, if they are to be relevant within this moribund organisation whose bush mentality is devoid of any moral or ethical rectitude.
We, Zimbabweans, through our apathy and cowardice allowed Mugabe to become a little god in our midst.
Unaccountable, unstoppable, selfish, uncaring, self-important, unquestionable, wealthy and totally devoid of any conscience whatsoever for the suffering and pain of millions of Zimbabweans who to this day still dream of a better life. We have been complicit in our own oppression.
It was Imanuel Kant, the German philosopher, who once said that out of the crooked timber of humanity, nothing straight was ever made. He is correct for out of the crookedness of power, politics and greed, nothing meaningful has ever been made in 36 years of Mugabe’s reign. It has been fantastic failure with Zimbabwe’s social indicators worse off than during than during pre-colonial days.
Chris Mutsvangwa put it well when he described Zanu PF as: “A vapid and vacuous party political oligarchy that is devoid of history, morals and probity”
You see the new social movements are challenging this paradigm and that is their only crime.
Mugabe’s reaction has been typical and has done what he knows best. To discredit any dissenting voice, attack, intimidate and if possible incarcerate the messengers, deny reality, shift the blame and use State security resources to protect his fears. That is what Ian Smith did to many of our political leaders in the past, however it never really works to stop an idea whose time has come. Prohibiting us from carrying the flag or arresting us does not stop inevitable change.
We all know, however, that instead it has galvanised our citizens to pull together. It has inspired the emergence of new young leaders who may have been quiet in the past. It has encouraged the weak and the down trodden to dare challenge the status quo. We have seen numerous protest videos from unexpected quarters including old grannies and condemning the very system which Mugabe seeks to protect. The end game is nigh.
I liked Evan Mawarire’s reaction to the attack on his authenticity as a pastor. So what he said, whether he is a legitimate pastor or not does not change the situation on the ground. That is so true. You see Mugabe has always been good at deflecting responsibilities and shifting the blame by reframing problem situations and making it look like he is also a victim of circumstances. Remember the sanctions mantra, blaming the British for the violent land reform, blaming others for the missing $15 billion and so on. We know him well and should, therefore, not be surprised in him using his tried and tested methods which have kept him in power for so long.
That new reality is that Tajamuka, enough is enough and we can no longer accept excuses or the blame game. It does not wash with us anymore.
Our responsibility, I think, is to now ignore his rants and deliver a clear message to him that we no longer want him to be our President because he has failed to live up to our expectations. That we will do all we can to peacefully change our situation and that cannot be treasonous but rather an indication that we have developed as a society and can no longer accept his paradigm and style of leadership.
Times have truly changed and our country must now go onto a new trajectory of an inclusive democracy underpinned by the respect of our dignity, equal access to opportunity and the freedom to speak as we think and to associate with whomever we want without limitation. The cheese has moved.
If only President Mugabe could accept these facts then surely there is an opportunity for him to salvage what will most likely be a ghastly legacy which our history books will surely put as an aberration, a monumental error, a stupid yet fatal mistake and an unforgivable accident of history which we must never repeat as a people.
Another Zimbabwe is possible!
- Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. He is also Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs for PDP. You may contact him on email@example.com