Look beyond Mugabe and rebuild the nation


On April 18, Zimbabwe turned 28. Though we suffered and sacrificed, the promise of independence, peace, and prosperity offered us enough comfort to soldier on undeterred. But, today poverty and political anxiety prevail.

Anyone who has picked up a newspaper in the last few years may well be aware of the numerous reasons cited for Zimbabwe ‘s crisis. They include colonialism, corruption, the government’s payout to war veterans, contempt for the rule of law, an unnecessary war in the Congo, human rights violations, the reckless land redistribution programme, and distortion of economic policies. Some analysts have even mapped our crisis down to one man – former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe. Thus, from Binga to Bangalore, Facebook to France, a campaign, the purpose of which is to banish Robert Mugabe, is now full-blown.  

On March 29, an unknown number of Zimbabweans took the campaign to oust Mugabe to the voting booths. Others have taken to the streets across the world in protest.

Non-protestors and non-voters have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, while others remain paralysed by the political impasse between the ruling and opposition parties. The international community has promised financial and material support to Zimbabwe, but on condition that we deliver Mugabe’s head on a silver platter.

Those calling for Mugabe’s head have assumed the role of chief firefighter. They do not want to hear anything other than the Mugabe must go now and Zimbabwe will be free’ soundtrack. Any talk of reconstruction, economic revival to meet the needs of survivors stokes anger and accusations of being insensitive or completely out of touch.

So, our nation is divided and our people are as angry as they are hungry. They want a quick answer. Put simply, a leadership change. It is hoped that this change of guard will extinguish the flames of poverty and usher in a new Zimbabwe. But, therein lies the partial source of our ailment. While, our short-term needs call for action, building a healthy nation demands looking beyond Mugabe. The continual task of attaining and sustaining a healthy Zimbabwe resides not solely with its political leaders but rather with its people. We must assemble the infrastructure needed to build our nation to last us for another 28 years and more.

[xhead]Removing Mugabe won’t end crisis

I do not mean to absolve Mugabe or any of our leaders of their sins. And neither do I mean to blame the victims of economic, political, and physical violence. But, all our energies cannot be focused on removing Mugabe because that alone will not end our crisis. Suppose the ancestors call Mugabe to the eternal resting place, then what? What if his ancestors bestow another 28 years of life on him and he holds onto the throne? Are we going to become a nation of professional protesters?

The national priority we must all work for is to build and maintain a Zimbabwe that meets the best interests of our people. Such a task goes far beyond Mugabe or any other leader for that matter. It may be common practice to remove tree stumps or any other distractions to create some structures. But, surely all of our cement mixers, builders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, energy and enthusiasm cannot be vested on bulldozing at the expense of other equally important tasks. We would not have a house if all we did were remove distractions. I am not suggesting that marches and protests are bad per se; however, they cannot be our ONLY strategy for nation-building.

Building a healthy and responsive Zimbabwe will require a lot of resources, including large sums of money, skills, energy, and strategy. Because of the great needs we have, perhaps it is time we started organising ourselves around reconstruction.

Though it is widely acknowledged that Zimbabwe has diminished its capacity to recover on its own without external help, we must not outsource the task of rebuilding our nation. Planning for such recovery must begin now, and before it is too late, we must take advantage of the international media attention to mobilise the extra resources needed to rebuild our country. The media suffers from attention deficit disorder and it is only a matter of time before it loses concentration on Zimbabwe.

Whatever government the voting public chose, Zimbabwe will need help to revive the economy. Hence, the diaspora must help raise financial and material resources to help respond to national needs. Our infrastructure is deteriorating, but unless we act, it will rot. The diaspora must also contribute skills to address the serious brain-drain that has long been affecting our country’s capacity for development. Harnessing and successfully integrating our skills into public and private institutions at home provides a powerful opportunity for building a better Zimbabwe.

While some people left Zimbabwe, not by choice, or chance, it is essential that we repair the damage inflicted on our relationships with each other and our public institutions. This we must do, to avoid the insanity of walking on the same path that has led us here today. But, more than anything, rebuilding robust institutions will demand major changes in attitude and values.

[xhead]National well-being

For a start, we will need to be disciplined enough to work for and protect the sacred promise of a healthy Zimbabwe for everyone. While we all have immediate needs, we must control our urge to satisfy personal needs at the expense of our national well-being. In practical terms, this means that the diaspora must work to create a mechanism to channel remittances officially to spread the benefits beyond immediate beneficiaries. Similarly, government must work collectively to create structural and institutional reforms to leverage remittances to address poverty. And those entrusted with the momentous task of safeguarding our national resources must not violate public trust for their own good.

Our success as a nation will depend on our ability to perform as an effective team. This demands that we create an atmosphere of mutual support, respect, and cooperation.

As a nation, we must take ownership and responsibility for our country. Personal and professional integrity must be our guiding principles. And more importantly, we must hold each other accountable – not for anyone’s sake, but ours. Accountability requires that we embrace the humility to accept when we are wrong.

We must change our complacency and apathy to concern and action. And government must facilitate the creation of a mechanism for everyone to partake in our national affairs.

While the 28 years that Mugabe has been in power is a long time in one person’s lifetime, it is but a grain of sand in our country’s history.

Zimbabwe is too rich and precious to be left to a few individuals. Protests will not be enough and neither will outsourcing the task to the international community. The well-being of Zimbabwe is our collective responsibility. Zimbabwe needs all of us. And, the question is: can we depend on you to answer the call?

Dominic Muntanga is the Founder of the Council for Zimbabwe.

The national priority is to build and maintain a Zimbabwe that meets the best interests of our people. Such a task goes far beyond Mugabe or any other leader for that matter.

Accept defeat or come clean on dictatorship


There’s one thing that Zimbabwe’s elections of 29 March made abundantly clear. This is the fact that Zimbabweans have declared that they have no more use for Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF). This is a decision that has been made by the majority of Zimbabweans, a decision made not only by the misguided urban population who have been accused of voting with their stomachs, as if that is a sin, but a decision also made by the rural population, long considered to make up Mugabe’s unwavering support base.    

Mugabe may carry out a campaign of terror against the people of Zimbabwe, whom he has clearly identified as his enemies who have dared to reject him for the puppet Tsvangirai, but there is no going back. Zimbabweans may be forgiving and tolerant for the most part, but once we make up our minds that we have heard enough, we are unwavering in that decision.

An election period is supposed to be a transitional period and an opportunity for the people to express their needs and have their voice heard. After that, we should be able to get on with our lives, with the government of our choice carrying out our instructions and protecting our interests.

So much is being said about what the people, the MDC, the SADC and the international community should do for Zimbabweans but I would like to focus on what Mugabe and his regime should do.

Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) have been rejected. They can accept the people’s will and make the period of transference of power to the MDC as painless and smooth as possible without undue drama and resistance. The other option that Zanu (PF) has is that of showing total disregard for the people and openly rejecting the people’s voice. They have done so already, but they can be more emphatic. Zanu (PF) can ban the MDC and other parties and declare an outright dictatorship.

The Zanu (PF) regime can stop wasting the people’s time. The regime has long shown tendencies of autocracy, but there have also been attempts at hoodwinking the people into believing that the regime has a conscience and tries to do things for our own good and by the book. Zanu (PF) has also been willing to carry on the charade of an election process, although its disregard for accepted standards and conditions was a great concern to us. The regime has finally shown its true colours after being beaten in these elections despite all attempts to distort results. Zanu (PF) has shown that it will not relinquish power no matter what.

As someone put it, Zimbabweans did not vote for entertainment. Since Zanu (PF) has decided that the vote is meaningless, the party must now just go all the way and declare their intentions. Zanu (PF) must now proceed to disband the ZEC and burn all election materials. They should then burn the constitution, since they have been using it just as a list of suggestions anyway. The regime must continue on that path and withdraw Zimbabwe from such organisations as the SADC, the AU and the international community as a whole. Zanu (PF) and Robert Mugabe must renounce membership to all organisations and revoke all treaties, agreements and resolutions it has been party to and confine Zimbabweans to an isolated existence. They must close all borders, ban all flights in and out of the country and declare the green document known as the Zimbabwean passport to be invalid.

There should no longer be any business carried out between the people of Zimbabwe and other nations and our sportspersons should not take part in internationally recognised competitions. In short, Zimbabwe should close down by presidential decree. Zanu (PF) should effectively lift this façade of a semblance of law and order in the country. They should show the world its true character without apology or remorse. Robert Mugabe must effectively sign the death warrant of this country.

After all this is done, I appeal to the international community to allow the Chinese warship to dock and bring in their guns and ammunition. These weapons can then be used on the people of Zimbabwe as Mugabe carries out summary executions through firing squads and such methods as he may deem appropriate in the expedient elimination of his Zimbabwean enemies. There should be no more games. After all enemies have been eliminated, I would like the international community to be invited to feast their eyes on the results. All those with a liking for human flesh can be encouraged to please themselves. Why waste good meat? The regime must be first in partaking in this gruesome feast. They deserve that privilege. They have earned it.

Zanu (PF) is free to use any one of the two options I have suggested. The beauty of these options is that they are both effective in that they can effectively put Zimbabweans out of their misery.

Since Zanu (PF) has decided the vote is meaningless, the party must now go all the way, disband the ZEC, burn all election materials and burn the constitution – they have been using it only as a list of suggestions anyway.

We neither face east nor west, but we face forward

Dr Nkwame Nkrumah, whose words are echoed in the headline above, had no guns to fight. He resorted to boycott, civil disobedience and strikes to carry on the struggle.

In our present vigorous struggle for a democratic government, nothing strikes so much terror into the hearts of our oppressors, their agents and their informers like the term positive action’.

It is a comforting fact to observe that the people have spoken that they are fed up of the rogue regime and now want new government. Mugabe and his thugs have failed to acknowledge the legitimacy of our demand for people-driven government. However it is by our exertion and pressure that Mugabe can relinguish power

There are two options to achieve a people-oriented government: armed revolution and violent overthrowing of the existing regime; or constitutional and non-violent methods – moral pressure.

Freedom will never be handed on a platter; instead we should therefore render the country ungovernable. We have talked too much and hence the need for constitutional positive action to achieve our result. It is time for action in workplaces, streets, ghettos and villages.

By positive action, we mean the adoption of all legitimate and constitutional means by which we cripple the forces of oppression in this country. The weapons of positive action are legitimate political agitation; newspapers and educational campaigns; continued pressure from NGOs and CSOs; lobbying by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai on international platforms, and strikes, boycotts and non-cooperation based on the principle of non-violence.

People have unduly criticised Tsvangirai for his non-violent approach to attaining our freedom. They are saying Tsvangirai should do things behind the government’s back. I say no’, because he has nothing to hide. The people shall surely win against the rogue regime, against all odds. Judgement upon those who have made themselves demi-gods, torturing, murdering and mocking is surely coming. They shall run. vakomana muchamhanya. matsotsi muchamhanya zvisina akamboona. We have the records of all your evil deeds against the people.

People of Zimbabwe, let us advance fearlessly and courageously, armed with the MDC party’s programme of positive action, based on the principle of non-violence.

Name withheld by request

Five ways to break the bank

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is currently surviving mostly on black market-purchased forex, black market-purchased gold and negotiated’ (black market rates) currency exchange deals with exporters – notably the Platinum Concentrate exporters, ZimPlats and Mimosa.

Traditional sources of forex have dried up. Agricultural and mineral exports, and thus the RBZ, have more and more been depending on buying up gold and forex on the black market. Ever wondered how the RBZ keeps going in these difficult times?

If the diaspora (around three million people) send an average of US$50 each per month, that is around US$150m a month. Yes, the RBZ is still getting a lot of this, and this is what we need to do.

You need to email the following points to as many Zimbabweans inside and outside Zimbabwe, in particular the diaspora in the UK, USA, RSA, Botswana and so on. We all get emails with multiple addresses, and we may not know or trust them. So, open a Google mail or Hotmail account with a false name. Dig out those old emails (with multiple addresses) and send this to each one of the email addresses you have.

You will be safe from Zanu (PF) informers as they have absolutely no way of tracing who sent your email.

So – the message is: five points to break the RBZ.

Stop selling your forex on the black market as most of it goes back to the RBZ (via the street traders and Premier Bank) to feed the ZNA, ZRP and Grace.

If you have to change forex, make sure it is via TT Offshore or with a direct importer.

Go to South Africa or Botswana and buy your groceries there – than change forex locally to buy locally.

Tell the disapora to stop sending cash. I know this is difficult, but there are other ways – fuel and food can be paid for in the UK, MAKRO in RSA.

Farmers and miners, hold back on gold and tobacco sales. Rather sell a Mombe or some equipment to pay wages – those can always be replaced later.

If we can all try to implement at least two or three of these points, inflation will skyrocket – as the RBZ will be forced into a desperate search for forex to increase the black market rate they are buying forex with.

An increase in inflation will help us override the evil in Zimbabwe as the few remaining Zanu (PF) supporters in the ZNA, ZRP etc will grow hungry and will finally concede that Mugabe must go.

Name withheld by request

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