We should stand together and take back our country

As Zimbabwe draws nearer to commemorating its 36th Independence anniversary on 18 April, it is so painful to reflect on how the notion of freedom has become so hollow, as Zimbabweans have become nothing more than slaves to the very people who claimed to have freed them.

Joshua Nkomo

Joshua Nkomo

I am reminded of a very touching, but telling statement made by the late great nationalist leader Dr. Joshua Nkomo, who said, ‘The hardest lesson of my life has come to me late, it is that a nation can win freedom without its people becoming free.’

He was obviously making reference to Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans, and he was so right – which is why he is the greatest revolutionary to be born in this country.

The people of Zimbabwe are, indeed, not free, as every day they have to struggle and toil not against the natural forces of this world, but against the very people who once claimed to be liberators, but have become the worst oppressors – proving that they were nothing but wolves in sheep’s clothing.

As Plautus once said, ‘Homo homini lupus!’, meaning, ‘Man is a wolf to man!’ – and ZANU PF has proved that exceptionally well, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

If a Vice President has no qualms about staying in a hotel for one and half years – at the expense of the already suffering tax payers, who themselves can not even afford to pay rentals for their own dwellings –  then it is clear that Zimbabwe is in a worse predicament than during the colonial days.

At least during the colonial era, the regime made an effort to ensure that the economic landscape was vibrant and that those who resided in urban areas had decent accommodation, whilst the powers-that-be were never reported to be living in hotels, or any other grandiose lifestyle.

ZANU PF’s brazen disregard for the people that one is supposed to lead, clearly shows not only utter contempt and a lack of respect for Zimbabweans, but also shameless childishness, only expected of someone who has been homeless for the past 3 decades who suddenly wins the lotto.

Actually, it is even worse than that, because at least this homeless man would be using his own money and pretty much can do with it as he pleaded, but the Vice President is staying in a reportedly US$400 a day hotel squandering the country’s meagre resources that should have been used to uplift the lives of the suffering people of this country.

Such unbecoming behaviour is not to be expected of a mature person who is meant to be a Vice President of a nation.

However, such is the shameful behaviour of the whole ZANU PF caboodle.

Is it then any wonder that this same government can preside over the disappearance of US$15 billion – an amount whose magnitude I can not even begin to grasp.

An amount that could have easily fed all the starving people in this country, bought text books for all the schools, and provided for most of the nation’s needs.

If the government can afford to pay for the Vice President’s stay in a hotel, where are they getting the money, since they always tell Zimbabweans that their suffering is a result of economic sanctions imposed on the country by the West?

This proves that these were nothing but tales, and it is time that the people of Zimbabwe held the ZANU PF government accountable for its actions.

The suffering people of this county can not take it anymore, and can not afford to just sit back and watch whilst those in power do as they please.

It is time that Zimbabweans got their country back, and it is up to us to stand together and not leave it up to politicians to emancipate us.

We have the power in our hands, and we need to use it.

For how long are we to endure this insufferable humiliation and abuse at the hands of the ZANU PF government?

For how much longer are we to stand by and watch our children not attending school – as we lack the financial means – yet our very own tax payers’ money is being used to send the powers-that-be’s own children to the most expensive schools all over the world?

Are we to just fold our arms, and go to bed hungry, whilst the wealth from our God-given natural resources are being pilfered by a few, who have built palaces and little kingdoms for themselves?

Are we to just watch whilst the government threatens to close down thousands of companies, thereby rendering tens of thousands more people unemployed – adding to the millions who are already jobless as a result of skewed government policies – that seem like empowerment programmes, but actually benefit only a small powerful clique?

For how much longer are we to stand by and watch our sweat and tears being unrewarded, as business owners work us to a pulp, and yet fail to pay us at the end of the month – yet they live lavish lifestyles,  with some of them being listed amongst the country’s wealthiest?

Are we to go into our graves without leaving a pension and financial security for our spouses and children, just because the company we toiled and sacrificed for for decades refuses to give us any terminal benefits – which the company owners and executives are using to holiday in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Paris and New York?

The ZANU PF government and a few in the business sector have not shown any difference at all – as some of the business people are direct beneficiaries of cronyism with those in power.

No, this can not be allowed to continue!

It is time for us to take charge and show who really is boss in this country.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe makes it very clear in Section 3(2)(f) that the State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must show ‘respect for the people of Zimbabwe, from whom the authority to govern is derived.’

We, the people of Zimbabwe, have the power and the right to to also deprive this government to authority to govern – or at least demand our rights be respected.

We have so much power in our arsenal, and we should be bold enough to use it.

In this struggle, we do not need bazookas or light machine guns, but the brevity to stand firm on the rights enshrined to us in our Constitution.

With the 2018 elections just round the corner, it is time for mass mobilisation.

Let us go out there full throttle to educate our families about what is happening to our beloved country and the need to change the government.

No one should say that they are not interested in politics.

The next time we do not have enough food to eat, let us make it clear to our spouses, children, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers what the reason is, who is to chiefly blame, and how we can change this – by registering en mass to vote and kicking out ZANU PF.

Whenever we can not afford school fees, and our children fail to attend lessons, let them know what is happening.

Whenever our company closes, or we are not paid, let those close to us know and understand what is happening and how to change the status quo.

Let those close to us understand how politics and politicians affect our everyday existence, and why each and everyone of us should get involved in bringing positive change to this country.

Politics affects us all, and therefore, all of us should affect politics.

Let us not sit back expecting the opposition to do it for us.

The opposition also derives its power to be effective from the people, and without all of us being fully supportive and engaging in all their activities and programmes, then the opposition has no power at all.

Instead of us complaining that the opposition is not doing anything, let us ask ourselves what we are doing in our individual capacities to effect positive change.

The power for any change lies with us.

We, as ordinary citizens, do not need to first draft some fancy manifesto – with some high-sounding sententious objectives and strategies – but we just need to go out there and make our voices heard and our power felt.

The Constitution provides for our rights to peacefully demonstrate, petition, campaign for a cause, and engage in any political activities, and as such, we should bravely engage in those, without fear of any consequences.

Even those in the diaspora can organise in their numbers and make sure that the plight of the people of Zimbabwe is never forgotten.

Additionally, they need to come home and vote in 2018, as that is an obligation for all of us.

No one but ourselves hold the keys to unlocking the shackles of oppression and misery placed on us by ZANU PF, and fearlessness is that key.

As long as we have fear at the forefront of our thoughts, then we will forever be slaves in our own motherland.

Let us make sure that our dissatisfaction with, and rejection of the manner in which the ZANU PF government is treating us is clearly heard.

We should demand accountability from the government at every turn.

Never again should the people of Zimbabwe allow for a few to make the lives of the majority a traumatic nightmare.

We have power in unity and in numbers – let us use that effectively.

When we are united and stand together as one powerful machine, nothing and no one can stop us.

Not all the abductions, beating ups, arrests, tortures, or violence can stop a determined people.

We have only our unity, dignity and our desire to be free and live joyfully as our strongest weapons, and the Constitution as our ally.

We can no longer afford to just stand by and be mere spectators to our very own execution – but we need to stand together and get our country and freedom back.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist and commentator, writer, and journalist. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcomes any feedback. Please feel free to call/WhatsApp: +263782283975, or email: [email protected]gmail.com

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