Fighting the ignorance of the masses

Zanu (PF) may think they have solved their political problem, but an economic disaster looms

“In dark days, men need a clear faith and well grounded hope; and as the outcome of these, the calm courage which takes no account of the hardships on the way. The times through which we are passing have afforded to many of us a confirmation of our faith. We see that the things we had thought evil are really evil, and we know more definitely than we ever did before the directions in which men must move if a better world is to arise on the ruins of the one which is now hurling itself into destruction. We see that man’s political dealings with one another are based on wholly wrong ideas, and can only be saved by quite different ideals from continuing to be a source of suffering, devastation and sin,” wrote Bertrand Russell.

The aim of politics should be to make the life of individuals as good as possible. Our politics have really never been about improving the quality of life of the individual, but rather about how those in power maximize their personal benefit and stay in power so they can grow even wealthier.

Unfortunately this is not about to change. Wednesday’s election revealed that no logical or valid idea that supports a change can emerge at the expense of the political motives of Zanu (PF). Without a miracle, we are indeed stuck with them for the next five years.

I am confident that the court challenge of MDC will not result in any change. After all, they are going to the same judges who decided that we should go into these elections without the contentious issues being resolved. They will not admit they were wrong to call for an early election.

What we need to do now is to work hard on a new narrative – one that focuses on new political ideals that seek to educate, inform and empower ordinary Zimbabweans. The challenge we face here is the ignorance of the masses, who continually deliver power to the ruling class at their own expense. They truly believe that it is not their own responsibility to change their circumstances – but expect a black government to prop them up. After all this is what Zanu (PF) has been preaching to them long and hard over the years via the tightly controlled state media – and they believe it.

Zimbabwe can only develop into a modern state if its political leaders are guided by absolute respect for our freedom to say and do what we want. That is what we must now fight for. Their focus must be moved from self to people’s voices and of course this will not be easy simply because we do not have such breed of people in Zanu (PF). We need a new movement.

There is no doubt in my mind that Zanu (PF) will not fundamentally change what they stand for. Instead we are going to see more rhetoric and the implementation of economic policies that are geared towards continued enrichment of a few. There is no obligation for them to keep any of their economic promises to the general populace, simply because they were never accountable to the masses.

Looming before them is the monumental task of managing an economy that has no cash flow and needs massive Western inflows of both investment and aid. If the West refuses to accept the rigged results, we shall see a further deterioration in the conditions of the masses while the “chefs” continue to insulate themselves through resource revenues. Of course China may help, but on its own terms and to the benefits of its people only.

Tendai Biti is no longer there to tell us what he expects to get from diamond revenues or how we need to restrain luxury expenditures in order to pay salaries. The lock to the feeding trough has been broken and we are poised to see unprecedented greed.

The trouble is I can’t have the above conversation with a peasant from Muzarabani whose only concern is to get seed from a Zanu (PF) government. I cannot have the same conversation with a chief who wants a new car because he has delivered the votes to Zanu (PF). I cannot even have this conversation with a youth who has now been given a cheap Chinese suit to wear with his new job as a driver for a new Zanu (PF) MP. – Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare; you may contact him on [email protected]

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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