Whenever I think of the manner in which the ZANU PF government has ridden roughshod over the lives of the people of Zimbabwe, I always remember what Victor Hugo once said: ‘An invasion of an army can be curtailed, but not an idea whose time has come’, but I love to rephrase that into: ‘An invasion of an army can be curtailed, but not a REVOLUTION whose time has come’.
I strongly believe that the people of Zimbabwe have bravely endured the sickening oppression they have been subjected to by the ZANU PF government for more that three and a half decades, to breaking point, such that they can no longer take it anymore, and that the time has come for them to openly and massively stand up against this wayward regime.
I am not calling upon any action that is not constitutional, but for the over-burdened people of Zimbabwe to finally reclaim their voices and powers so as to boldly resist the gross abuse they have suffered at the hands of ZANU PF.
In the 1980s, Zimbabweans endured silently as this genocidal regime massacred over 20 000 people – mostly Ndebele – in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
Similarly, over the past one and a half decades, the people of Zimbabwe have been subjected to gross human rights abuses, including threats, abductions, arrests, stifling of the media, beatings up, burning of their homes, various forms of torture, and killings – forcing multitudes into exile.
Zimbabweans then silently suffered the indignity of failing to support their families, due to the ZANU PF government’s skewed economic policies, which have led to massive company closures and under-performance, resulting in unemployment, failure to pay salaries and terminal benefits.
This had led to a country whereby, husbands can not even take care of their wives, parents can not feed their children and send them to school – not to mention a disastrous land grab policy that has worsened the already dire food crisis caused by the drought, pushing over 4 million Zimbabweans to the brink of starvation.
As if this was not horrid enough, government hospitals do not have the necessary life-saving medications and equipment, resulting in the needless loss of lives of the already suffering majority of Zimbabweans, as they can not afford the expensive medical costs at private facilities.
Whilst this is happening, those in power are lost as to what to do with their abundant wealth – which was accrued through means that are largely suspected of being less than honest.
The country’s natural resources, which should be benefiting the majority of Zimbabweans, have largely benefited only a few – to the extent that at least US$15 billion worth of diamond revenue can just vanish into thin air.
The list of injustices perpetrated by the ZANU PF government on the people of Zimbabwe is endless and needs an entire book of its own, but the $15 billion question is: what should the suffering Zimbabweans do?
Has sitting back and doing nothing helped improve the lives of the majority of the people of this nation?
How much success has been achieved through mere grumbling and complaining without real concrete action?
Has our fear of the brutal state machinery helped us in any way?
I am sure that the answer to all these questions is an unequivocal NO!
Nothing has improved through our quietness, fear and inaction.
It is understandable that, due to ZANU PF’s history of cruelty and brutality, people would be naturally apprehensive.
Nevertheless, fear is a luxury we can no longer afford.
If ever we seriously want an improvement in our standards of living, we all have to harness our fears and take control.
As they say, courage is not the absence of fear, but one’s ability to control that fear.
We all experience fear when dealing with such a brutal and inhuman government – it is natural – but there comes a time when we need to make a decision – it is either we die from hunger, oppression and poverty as cowards, or we take charge of our fears and be determined enough to go out there, confront our oppressors and make our demands heard.
Any veteran of the country’s liberation struggle will tell you that they were naturally afraid when they were fighting the merciless minority Rhodesia regime.
However, they will also tell you that they were driven by a strong conviction to liberate the country, in the hope of a better and brighter future for all Zimbabweans.
Such a conviction supersedes any fear that one might have.
When we are faced with the full wrath of the ZANU PF repression machinery, we must always remember why we are doing it.
We have the constitutional right to peacefully demonstrate and petition, and we need to optimally utilise this right.
We no longer have anything to lose.
The ZANU PF government has already stripped us bear of all our livelihood, but we at least have our dignity and the future of our children to protect.
The situation in Zimbabwe will never improve on its own.
If ZANU PF failed to achieve anything meaningful in the last 36 years, why would anyone think that they can suddenly have a ‘Road to Damascus’ moment?
In fact, even in the Biblical ‘Road to Damascus’, Saul of Tarsus needed to be boldly confronted by Jesus Christ in a very powerful and forceful manner for him to change his ways – he just did not wake up one morning and realise that what he was doing was wrong and that he needed to repent.
Bad governance, like a disease, is progressive – it only gets worse if no concrete measures are taken, as such, the situation in Zimbabwe will only get worse if we do not do anything as a matter of urgency.
Besides, most of the well-publicised anti-government demonstrations held this year – for example, the Dzamara, and the MDC-T protests – were relatively without much notable incidents.
This should also serve as encouragement for all of us to go out in full force to demand our rights be respected by this government.
Needless to say, whatever the ZANU PF government’s response, we will never – and should never – be deterred in our firm and unshakable stance against the ZANU PF government’s brazen callousness against the people of Zimbabwe.
We have already been abused for 36 years, so why should we now fear the pain of baton sticks, whips, or even arrest?
Is the pain of a baton stick more sever than that of not being able to send our children to school?
Is a whip more painful than the hunger we are facing everyday of our lives?
Will prison be more antagonising than the years of excruciating pain we are facing due to diseases that are not healing because of the non availability of medication in government hospitals?
Can the tears shed due to tear-gas canisters ever be more than the tears we shed everyday as a result of not being able to put food on the table for our families?
When you watch your own family suffer every day, can there be any pain worse than that?
Surely, one should be willing to lay down even their own lives for those they genuinely love – for there is no greater love than that.
Nevertheless, none of us will be breaking any law, as we will be within our constitutional rights.
If we just sit back and watch, the situation will become so irreversibly horrid, such that what we experienced in 2007 will seem like Christmas.
We need to go into the streets in our numbers.
Let us make our voices be clear – both men and women, the employed and the unemployed, young and old, students, Christians, and those of all religions.
Let every street in every town be filled with the sounds of our anguish.
Let our feet be the tanks, and our voices be the bazookas of our revolution.
This is not about politics, but about everyday life for everyday living.
This is about our life. This is about our children. This is about our future. This is about our very survival – and we can not dare compromise.
Let us put politics aside and think of our families.
This has become bigger than any political entity – and no one can afford to play politics with people’s lives.
These are bread and butter issues, and they affect all of us.
No one can stop a revolution whose time has come – and Zimbabwe is ripe for one.
Similarly, in 2018, it is our patriotic duty to vote in our numbers – dwarfing any other previous election – in order to finally hammer in the final nail in the ZANU PF coffin.
The power is in our hands.
We can choose to continue suffering, or we can choose to stop it right now.
Nothing good is ever easy.
All good things have to be fought for, and we need to be committed and be willing to endure with perseverance all retribution, persecution, and temptations to quit.
Let us all come together and put all our fears behind us, and boldly confront the ZANU PF government – let our huge numbers be our strength – for even the world’s worst dictators have crumbled in the face of a nation united.
Â° 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]