The way we chose to use our power

Grace Chirenje

I HAD this old vehicle, which I decided to sell because it had too much history, which I did not want to be constantly reminded of. I got a buyer, who had his own vehicle so we agreed he would give me that vehicle as part of the deposit.Fair and good.

I also had another person who wanted a vehicle and offered to take the “deposit vehicle”, fair and good as he gave a down cash payment, which was a show of good will or was it?

The deal went down, with a lot of teething issues, back and forth; which I absolutely did not like but eventually we signed affidavits and I assumed we had concluded the sale.

The due date for the deposit payments came and the two men started giving me grief. They pretendednot to know what was happening. I did everything I could - I vented, ranted, cried, prayed and did whatever I deemed necessary but to no avail.

Now these two men are part of the “security sector” and am here wondering if that is their dealing card. This has become the norm in Zimbabwe where people abuse others because they are “connected”, much to the heart ache and disadvantage of many. This whole narrative got me thinking about the state of affairs in Zimbabwe.

Our painful reality

There is something fundamentally wrong with the way human beings choose to frame their thinking in many respects. Countless times, I have worked with women who have had their lives placed in the most horrible realities due to people who decide to just act out of character and sadly most of these are men.

Now take these two men in my story for example, one would wonder what exactly is goingon in their minds to actually “buy” vehicles and decide they just will not pay.

It is almost like they are daring me to see what exactly I can do to them. Maybe it is because they work with various arms of government. The truth is that many a time, we have people who decide to abuse their offices and people just because they can. Yes, they may at various times state that their office has nothing to do with their private affairs and yet at every whim, they flex using where they work and who they know.

The question then is, what becomes of those who do not have contacts or links of any nature. This is just but a symptom of a much bigger challenge we are facing here in Zimbabwe.  A few weeks ago, I was supporting a group of men and women who had their Lithium claims taken away from them by a very powerful individual. Did they have the necessary papers to tehri claims, yes! Another time, it was elderly women whose houses had been taken from them because they failed to make certain payments in line with their monthly bills.

It is very sad that most of these cases go unchallenged and many innocent people lose their money, hope and in some cases sanity. Time and time again, we often hear of these stories and are aware of someone who has been abused by people who think they have power.

It is imperative now more than ever that as Zimbabweans, we come together and demand justice for whatever we deem as toxic and abusive. This can be at home, school, church, in the community and nation at large.

There is a very strong notion that it is us the Zimbabweans who can rebuild our country and therefore, we need to go beyond rhetoric and actual be intentional about rebuilding it so that it is safe for each and every one of us to show up fully and enjoy our rights as citizens.

With a national election beckoning, this is very urgent so that we make things work for everyone. This notion that all animals are equal but some are more equal than others is not working for Zimbabwe. We are sick and tired of the same old rhetoric that sees the country squandering the lives of future generations.

Something surely needs to give so that abuse of office and power becomes a thing of the past. It is high time we each enjoy being a part of the country we call home.

We do have enough wealth as a country such that each and every one of us becomes a part of this scrumptious pie. How then do we make it work?

Deciding to step up

The culture of fear is one that we often live with in Zimbabwe. There is a constant threat to our lives and so we have decided to stop speaking truth to power. The idea is never about a regime change, it is about a system change because we know that when systems are weak, whoever will be found at the helm of power can abuse office.

For we know that power is very sweet and corrupts.

As we step into this women’s month, may we remember that it is our duty to respect women and seek to rebuild this country not just for women but for everyone who is a part of this country.

We do have a window of technology and a youthful population at many levels so we make a difference. We do not want to define our country narratives with the same lenses the men who bought those vehicles do. Now is the time for us to become more intentional about transforming the Zimbabwean rhetoric, one human at a time.

We can indeed hold hands to make a difference so that Zimbabwe becomes better.

Until then, we live, laugh and love louder in a bid to show the world that we were here, becoming better, making our mark and leaving our footprint as we make the world a better place!

Chirenje writes in her personal capacity as a citizen of Zimbabwe. Twitter: @graceruvimbo; Facebook: Grace Chirenje; Instagram: @graceruvimbo

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