Zimbabweans urged to stand up against ‘oppressive’ Zanu (PF)

Zimbabweans are being urged to learn from their recent history and stand up against the oppressive ZANU PF regime, in a new book that paints a stark picture of where things have gone wrong.

The book ‘When Governments Stumble: Lessons from Zimbabwe’s past; hope in Africa’s future’ is written by former Chegutu farmer turned activist and author Ben Freeth. Speaking from the UK, where he is launching the book this week, Freeth explained the book is a “challenging” exploration of what has happened under the oppressive control of ZANU PF.

“When you go through a time of difficulty where the whole of the country is suffering and people are leaving by the million and people can’t feed themselves, then you have to take an introspective look at yourselves and ask why this is the case,” Freeth told SW Radio Africa.

‘When Governments Stumble’ is Freeth’s second book, following the very successful autobiographical account of the landmark legal case that he and his late father-in-law Mike Campbell won at the SADC Tribunal in 2008. ‘Mugabe and the White African’, which was also turned into a hard-hitting, feature length documentary, used the experiences Freeth and his family faced as a result of ZANU PF’s land grab campaign, to depict the injustices and lack of the rule of law in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

Freeth explained on Thursday that the second book focuses on what can be learned by all nations where governments ‘stumble, and how these lessons can be used to move forward.

“This (the book) is now looking at what happens when the government stumbles. It is looking at the wider sense of what has happened economically in Zimbabwe, and the issue of what governments essentially are for,” Freeth said.

He continued that in Zimbabwe, citizens have forgotten that governments are meant to be answerable and accountable to the nation. He said this defines a dictatorship.

“Governments are there to protect people, their lives and their liberties and it’s there to protect their property. And we have a situation in Zimbabwe where all these things that a government is meant to do, the ZANU PF government is doing the opposite,” Freeth said.

The book is being launched as Africa is facing a leadership crisis, witnessed most recently by attempts by the continent’s leaders to seek immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). This blanket amnesty was proposed during a special summit of the African Union (AU), with nations threatening a mass walkout of the Hague based court.

Freeth explained that this sort of threat to the rule of law in Africa is “very sad,” but not surprising.

“We always knew that there are people in governments very worried about a justice system that is able to reach its arm out and say ‘you can’t do these things against your people’,” Freeth said.

He said this was another sign of ‘stumbling’, adding that his book examines “what we as individuals or groups can do about governments that do stumble.” He said that standing up against tyranny is the core message he is trying to bring across in the book.

Using his Christian faith as the backbone of this message, Freeth said he is trying to challenge and inspire people “to do what great men of God have done in the past.”

“The one thing we have learned from history is that people don’t learn from history and I hope that this book somehow gets people to learn from the past so we can move forward quite quickly in Africa and in Zimbabwe, when we get people willing to stand up and bring people to account and make sure people in the country are protected,” Freeth said. – SW Radio Africa

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