IT is profoundly sad that Zimbabwe, saddled with debilitating crises as it is, remains a country with thousands, if not millions, of politically illiterate people. And some are educated too. As a general thing, the worst illiterate is the political illiterate.
By Learnmore Zuze
Political illiterates take no part in political life and even pride themselves in their ignorance.
The political illiterate doesn’t seem to know that the decay in Zimbabwe, the cost of living, the rampant vending, the price of cooking oil, mealie meal, medicines, rent, are all products of political decisions.
The political illiterate doesn’t even know that his failure to pay school fees and secure a better future for his children are all consequences of poor politics which he runs away from.
The political imbecile doesn’t know that from his non-participation comes the vendor, the child prostitute, the teenage robber and, worst of all, the immensely corrupt leadership that has bled the country dry.
The political illiterate even takes pride in his political ignorance stating proudly that he hates politics; the very politics that causes him to move from one relative to the next with a begging bowl. It would be comic if it were not sad that a person is proud of ignorance; ignorance which cripples him.
Zimbabwe, of all the countries, has many people who shy away from politics and, tragically, some of them are the very youths whose future has been wrecked by an incompetent administration.
The ongoing biometric voter registration exercise is just about one vivid example that exposes the political illiteracy in Zimbabwe. Hordes of people have yet to register arguing that “nothing will change”.
These are the people, on the contrary, desperately in need of change. This is the group that has never known what a pay slip looks like. Among them are professionals stuck in the depths of despair.
On the contrary, it should be stated that nothing will change unless some voting happens. Voting may change the Zimbabwean situation, but not voting guarantees the status quo; it’s a commitment to a life of poverty.
It must be clearly grasped that no one can deny the possibility of rigging in elections in Zimbabwe. The possibility is real, but that is beside the point. Whether Zanu PF rigs or not is neither here nor there; what is of utmost importance is conveyance of a firm message.
The time has come for Zimbabwe to shun political illiteracy. It is far much better that the system rules with an iron-fist knowing full well that the people have spoken unequivocally. Remaining quiet and standing aloof can only prop up repression and guarantee suffering.
What is crucial is to make the system understand that the citizenry has suffered and is not amused. That is the best form of protest that Zimbabweans can give.
It is no wonder why some people are of the firm belief that Zimbabweans deserve their government. And, yes, to an extent, this carries some colour of truth.
Zimbabweans, afflicted with the burdens of unemployment and hunger, among others, would rather have one Evan Mawarire or Morgan Tsvangirai carry their cross, while they watch from the comfort of their homes.
Change has never and will never come in that form. Change comes from participation in political life whether one is a Christian or not.
There are plenty political illiterates who try to hide behind a finger citing religion. The truth of the matter is that even the Church is choking under the weight of poor governance. The biblical virtue of giving is suppressed in a paralysed economy like the Zimbabwean economy.
God has never supported the oppression of people neither does He rejoice to see people dying from treatable diseases in a country where supposed servants of the people spend millions of dollars on trinkets. Real Christianity demands consciousness and a pleading for the cause of the poor.
Nonetheless, we cannot deny the fact of the fear factor in Zimbabwe as a cause for political apathy. Zimbabwe has seen worse things politically. Politics in Africa, in general, is not for the faint-hearted because of the real risks of being maimed or even killed.
Many have died for merely holding different views, a right enshrined in the Constitution. It is a given that many innocent souls are lost during election time and, therefore, Zimbabweans would rather curse in hushed tones instead of expressing their anger against poor governance. This is very diagnostic of Zimbabwean behaviour. I would not like to call it cowardice but, to a huge extent, explains why the crisis has remained as it is.
Zimbabweans are waiting for some mythical Moses to save them from the current problems. They won’t lift a finger.
It is for this cause why they should at least speak through the ballot; it’s a lot safer should they fear reprisals or violence.
Zimbabwe is barely the country where political unconsciousness should be found. For too long the country has suffered. People must register to vote and make their word count.
Political illiteracy is an evil to be fought.