We must work diligently to overcome the constraints of our history if we are to discover the full potential of our future. We must accept that history has dealt us a temporary blow from which we can recover. Other nations have become great because their horrible past experiences under dictatorships have showed them what they do not want. To this day, they continue to galvanise themselves against making the same mistakes. We must do the same.
We have learnt that the politics of personality cults leads to regression; a leadership that is not accountable leads to absolute corruption. We have learnt that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We know that if we are to learn from the past, the inconsistencies and lies must be exposed.
It is obvious that our nation cannot be united without national healing and unity of purpose. Our society can only develop if we take the responsibility to do so. Fear is only imagined – yet it robs us of our potential, our humanity and our dignity as a people.
We must therefore first destroy that fear in our minds and also destroy the thrones we have created in our hearts for politicians, spies and parasites of Zanu (PF). We must dismantle the propaganda machinery they have established. We must fight abuse and the sense of entitlement that permeates our politics and its self-appointed leaders. We must fight the discrimination against women, racism and the use of violence to win arguments. We must destroy our cultural limits and the belief in witchcraft as a means of access to position and material wealth.
We must build new political and economic institutions with strong foundations of social justice and equity. Our army, police and intelligence services must protect our citizens and our country and must never be used by an individual to oppress others as Mugabe has done. Our state enterprises must deliver services to the people and not be used as instruments of patronage and reward for political cronies. Local government must never be controlled by politicians but must be accountable to communities.
We must re-programme ourselves from the focus on accumulation of material wealth. We must lift others as we rise. We have learnt that popularity does not lead to leadership competence and therefore our standards and criteria for leadership must be value based and centred on sound principles, humility and the willingness to serve others.
We have to create a participative democracy where citizens’ rights are protected by our institutions. We can never afford apathy and hopelessness to return to our people. We must take our power back.
After Mugabe, we must insist that no individual is above the law and that no individual can abuse our state resources for his or her own gain. We must ensure that our President is accountable and we will therefore need a strong Parliament that can keep the President on check. We will have to strengthen Parliament – it must not be just a rubber stamp, but a force for accountability and transparency in governance.
We must encourage a multi-party democracy that is balanced and not dominated by a single political party. We cannot afford to have a situation where this country is run by a single political party. We must put the country first.
We must expose all the corruption that Mugabe has presided over and clean up the rot in all government institutions. We have to manage our land assets better and plan better so that they can be more productive. Our mining resources must be exploited to the benefit of all – not only the army and party cronies. We will have to account for every ounce of mineral and every cent earned.
The liberation struggle was about social justice and equality and we have to continue to pursue these ideals because they have not been achieved. In fact, the Zimbabwe we have seen under Mugabe is not the Zimbabwe we want nor is it the Zimbabwe that thousands perished for. The struggle for the emancipation of our citizens is not yet over. It was derailed because of selfish interest and cowardice. After Mugabe we will have to start over to create a new nation.
The last 34 years have shown us what democracy is not and what society we do not want. It has taught us much and if Zimbabwe is to benefit from its past experience, as many other nations have done, we need a fundamental moral regeneration. More important will be to whom we give the responsibility to create that Zimbabwe we want.
I have no doubt in my mind that it is possible for us to create the Zimbabwe I imagine – but it will not emerge on its own nor can it be created under Mugabe. We can no longer afford to give that responsibility to anyone who has been complicit in aiding Mugabe to create his Zimbabwe. We reject it.
– Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at [email protected]Post published in: Analysis