Freedom is not a free lunch

For my education I have been talking to a number of genuine war veterans who have been side-lined by Zanu (PF) despite their significant contributions to our freedom from colonialism.

Vince Musewe

Vince Musewe

Note that I say here freedom from colonialism – not freedom – because we are not yet free from oppression.

I think I should write a book on their stories to enrich our appreciation of what they went through. This will give us context and maybe a better understanding of why we are where we are as a society.

Their harrowing accounts of what they did to survive and what they encountered during the struggle will leave one quite angry because all their sacrifice has not borne any fruit. In their minds they were fighting for a cause and not for an individual who would choose who to call a hero and who not. All they wanted was to contribute to the freedom of the majority at all costs even at the ultimate cost of their lives. They were prepared to die for our freedom.
Some died terrible deaths at the hands of the enemy and of course others died at the hands of their own colleagues.

New struggle
Sometimes I wonder where that spirit went because today we are faced with a tyranny that has done more damage to our potential than colonialism and yet I detect a hesitance by most Zimbabweans today to contribute to the new struggle against the tyranny of those that allegedly liberated us.

It seems to me that modern day Zimbabweans are more interested in making money than in freedom. As a result most are doing nothing – hoping that the tyranny will go away by itself. We have abdicated the responsibility for our own freedom and happiness by fearing to vociferously challenge what in essence is an evil system of oppression of blacks by blacks.

We will not even contribute to causes that help our society and yet we expect the West to feed our hungry, clothe our poor, educate our children and even treat our sick.

In the three years that I have been in Zimbabwe, I have seen that it’s more important for some amongst us to survive on crumbs than to challenge the status quo. Even some of our successful companies are quick to donate funds to a Zanu (PF) dinner – but reluctant to help those in need. I have even seen piles of rubbish outside one of the most successful supermarket chains. They just don’t care. I have seen some amongst us brag about drinking the most expensive whiskies to impress friends but they will not give a beggar even a dollar. How sad.

Selfish society
We have become a narrow-minded and selfish society and yet we are not free. Most expect others to fight for their freedom while they criticise those who have taken the personal risk of challenging the status quo so that all Zimbabweans may be free and enjoy a better quality life. Because of this spirit of selfishness, we have all inadvertently strengthened the dictator. We are a society complicit in its own oppression.

In my opinion, the West is tired of contributing to our politics when we are not prepared to contribute ourselves. I have been told horrible stories of how some political parties abused funds in 2008.

Some of them got millions and have nothing to show for it today. It is even rumoured that some of the leaders of these political parties converted contributions of party assets to  their personal use. I therefore do not blame the West for holding back because funding political parties in the past has not created any results.

The only solution is for us to take the responsibility for our future and contribute to the change we want to see. There is so much fear of being change agents here, especially in the business sector it is frightening and yet these are the people who will benefit from any change.

Doing nothing
I have also spoken to those in the Diaspora and sadly it’s the same. Everyone has something to say about what should happen in Zimbabwe, but nobody wants to contribute a cent towards the achievement of the future they desire.

The fight for freedom is not a free lunch. It is not a comfortable and convenient project. Ask those who fought the war. As we seek to change Zimbabwe, it is important that we realise that our doing nothing contributes to things getting worse. We need to take a collective responsibility for our future because all we have are our numbers. If every Zimbabwean contributed a few dollars to change Zimbabwe we would get somewhere. We really can’t expect others to fight our battles for us.

What continues to amaze me is that, despite being an allegedly educated lot, Zimbabweans are pouring millions each day into Pentecostal prosperity scam churches where so-called bishops and prophets are driving luxury cars on the back of the poor masses that pile into their churches hoping for their own personal prosperity. It is a sad spectacle.

  – Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at [email protected]

Post published in: Featured
  1. Patrick Guramatunhu

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