It is inevitable that a nation whose freedom and liberties have been constrained or arrested for any reason and for a protracted time must, at some stage, seek the means to liberate itself from that repression. It must choose to free itself at some point; this has been the pattern in man’s history; the human spirit has always overcome the artificial confines of man’s imagination.
Although at times, during this struggle, all hope may be lost, this does not mean that an outside or a better alternative to those confines we find ourselves in does not exist. This, I think is the message that we must hold close to our hearts as we face uncertainty with regard to our future here in Zimbabwe. We must find that outside.
We must always remember that fear is a mental construct based mainly on our imagination. We can only find this out once we break through it. Only once we deny its power over us can we then realize that indeed, fear is only an imagined boundary. We will find out that there is an outside richer and more fulfilling that we can imagine. We must therefore first deliberately conquer that fear within us and only then can we truly become who we are meant to be.
On the other side of fear, we have hope. Hope is a fantasy that things will get better by themselves. It is a false expectation that things cannot get any worse. In such instances, hope becomes a prison. It becomes a prison or a mental comfort zone where we expect the best without actually making any effort to actively attain it.
We can hope all we want, but unless we take action to realize our expectations, we will continue to make excuses and rely on powers outside us as a means to escape our responsibility to act. We construct our own prison. We dis-empower ourselves and leave the responsibility of changing our circumstances to others or to an outside force beyond our control. We become complicit in creating our unhappiness and ask God to intervene.
Zimbabweans find themselves imprisoned by fear on the one side and hope on the other.
The values of our society have been irreparably injured by the recent elections and the way they were conducted. Although ZANU (PF) can now claim “success” and gloat as happened recently, the damage done is cancerous. This is simply because we have sent a clear message to Africans and the world at large, that you can indeed cheat and get away with it. You can abuse national resources for personal political gain and it’s acceptable. That “wining” at all costs is the most important thing, even where citizens are excluded from the process and those not on your side are demonized as “enemies”. Ethics and honor do not matter at all.
In order for us to break this cycle, we must realize that we cannot continue to act and do the same things and expect different results. Zimbabweans in general must release themselves from their own limitations. I have never seen a nation that chooses to arrange itself around its problems as opposed to dealing with the problems directly. We tend to accept the worst and then plan our lives around it.
For me the choice we are all making through our silence is to legitimize a flawed election. We are once more giving ZANU (PF) carte blanch to carry and do as they please with our lives; we shall of course bear the brunt and complain once more.
If anything, these are the times that should really shape who we truly are and yet I sense a reluctant acceptance already; an acceptance of mediocrity, poverty and suffering to come.
Will freedom in this life time ever be possible?
Yes it is and we dare not give up now.
Vince Musewe is an economic analyst based in Harare. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org