As Zimbabwe’s watershed 2018 elections beckon, this will be a grand opportunity for the long-suffering people to finally decide
whether we want the poverty-stricken status quo to persist, or a long overdue change to prosperity.
BY Tendai Mbofana
The people of Zimbabwe have endured nearly two decades of untold suffering at the torment hands of misgovernance and unrestrained, if not State-sanctioned, corruption.
Zimbabweans have bravely gone through hyper-inflation, unprecedented food shortages, electoral fraud, oppression and brutality, massive retrenchments and company closures, unliveable wages, non-payment of those unliveable wages and terminal benefits, cash shortages, non-availability of medication in government hospitals, schools without textbooks, and the list goes on.
Although, Zimbabweans have displayed undisputedly unparalleled resilience, and bravery, we no longer need to endure and tolerate poverty and suffering.
God never created humans to just endure suffering and poverty.
Even animals in the wild have a higher standard of living than Zimbabweans, as they have most — if not all — of their needs right there in the wild.
In fact, the only animals we witness suffering from poverty are those kept by humans.
We were created as superior to animals — and have dominion over them — but quite frankly, in Zimbabwe that is disputable.
Tolerance of poverty and suffering is one of society’s malagnants that can easily form into a dangerous habit — and Zimbabweans should no longer allow that to continue.
Tolerance of suffering and poverty is a far much more dangerous habit than drunkenness, smoking and taking illicit drugs.
We need to stand very firmly next year and reject suffering and poverty through our choices in the ballot box.
Zimbabwe’s suffering and poverty transcends all political party affiliations, and as such, it would be foolhardy for us to blindly continue to vote solely based on traditional partisans lines.
Elections are not a game.
They are literally a matter of life and death, and, therefore, all electoral decisions should be made wisely.
This is not football, where a staunch Highlanders or Dynamos fan will undyingly support his or her team — no matter how pathetically it performs.
The fan will defend his or her team, no matter what, even if it means taking a beating from rivals.
Nevertheless, what works for football, does not necessarily work for politics.
Politics determines whether someone will have a job, or food on the table tomorrow or not —thus, decisions have to be made intelligently.
These should not be myopic and selfish decisions that are based on trivial things, such as being given handouts, like food parcels, money, jobs, or even residential stands.
These may initially appear attractive, but as any seducer, they only lead to further suffering.
Would one expect to be given food handouts for the rest of their life, or after being given a stand, where will the money to develop it come from — more handouts?
Where is the dignity in relying on handouts — that I failed to provide for my family, and had to receive charity?
Besides, the receiver of such handouts will forever be beholden to the giver, and virtually become a slave.
How many people were given free farms, and yet today do whatever they are told to do — even if they do not want to — because they fear the farm being taken away?
Our electoral decisions should enable the country to prosper, so that if I want a house, then I will be able to buy one for myself.
We will have the freedom to undertake any career of our choice, without feeling coerced into certain fields — as farming — just because that is the only place with opportunities.
Not only will that bring respectability to us, but also we will not be anyone’s slaves.
Therefore, let us move away from political party allegiances that demean us and strip us of all dignity.
Let us carefully study the various parties available, and intelligently question their policies and manifestos.
Let us read and study for ourselves such laws as the United States’ Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) and find out for ourselves the truth about sanctions.
We really cannot fiercely argue for 16 years over something we can simply google.
We are literate enough not to allow ourselves to be lied to and manipulated by politicians.
Our very lives are at stake, and we can no longer afford to be paralysed in our traditional political parties, but choose between continued poverty, or prosperity.
Let us register in our large numbers, so that 2018 goes down in history as when Zimbabweans finally broke free.
l Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. He is available should anyone invite him to speak at any gathering. Please call +263782283975, or email email@example.com