ZANU PF’s repression will only breed further rebellion

I was shocked - no, let me say, dumbfounded - when I learnt that the Zimbabwe Minister of Home Affairs Ignatius Chombo was threatening to ban anti -government demonstrations - further giving credence to the fact that this government has lost all sense of respect for the people from whom they derive the power to govern.

zanuAs painful as it is, this is to be expected from any power dynamics, and it is entirely up to the people to re-claim their power – as truly, any government’s ability to govern is derived from the people.

Only the people have the power to keep a wayward government – such as the one we have in Zimbabwe – in check, and they should do that without fear.

Indeed, we need to go back to the basics of politics to understand and appreciate this power.

The ZANU PF government claims to have been democratically elected in 2013, and as such, obtained its mandate to govern Zimbabwe till the next election in 2018 from the people of Zimbabwe.

This process on its own betrays one important fact, that the government of Zimbabwe was appointed by the people of Zimbabwe, and as such is an employee of, and subservient to the people of Zimbabwe.

That is why political parties campaign every time there is an election.

They would be begging the people to give them the job of governing the country.

The political parties – or independent candidates – would be effectively crying out, ‘Please give me the job to govern this country. We are capable because of such and such qualifications and experience, and if you employ us, we promise to deliver this and that for the benefit of the country and all its citizens’.

It is no different from a person who sends an application letter and CV to a company’s shareholders (owners) – and may be called for an interview – ‘campaigning’ to be given a job on the company’s board of directors.

The only difference is that a company is a small entity, and as such, may have very few shareholders who would make the decision as to whom to employ on its board of directors.

However, a country is a huge entity, and its shareholders comprise of ALL its citizens, and as such, the decision on whom to employ on its board of directors – that is, the government –  has to be taken by ALL those that are eligible to vote – through an election process.

Any country’s elections are effectively its shareholders’ meeting in which they would be choosing a new board of directors to run their country on their behalf.

The board of directors is, therefore, accountable,  answerable, and subservient to the shareholders.

Just because the shareholders stay at home, whilst the directors are involved in the effective day to day running of a company – through the appointment of the company executives, and designing and implementing of plans for the effective operations of the company, and so forth – does not mean that they (the directors) are now the bosses and are above the owners.

No!

The shareholders would always be above the directors.

The same approach goes for a country.

Just because the shareholders – the citizens – are not involved in the day to day governance of the country, does not subjugate them to the government.

The citizens will always be above the government.

This is a very important fact that no Zimbabwean should ever forget.

The people are the bosses.

Furthermore, we pay the government’s salaries through our taxes – showing that we are truly their employers.

It is about time that Zimbabwe’s shareholders exercised their powers without fear.

Just because the Privates in an army are holding the guns, does not make them more senior than the Generals, who might not be holding any guns.

Similarly, the people of Zimbabwe should not fear their own employees, just because they now use intimidation to do things that are contrary to the desires of the shareholders.

The people of Zimbabwe should stand firm and stamp their feet down to show the ZANU PF government who really is the boss in this country.

The government has no right whatsoever to deny the people of Zimbabwe their right to express their dissatisfaction with the manner in which this country is being governed.

Furthermore, the right to peacefully demonstration and petition is enshrined in the country’s Constitution, so where does Chombo derive that power to deprive the people of their rights?

Who is now breaking the law?

The government should stop taking the people of Zimbabwe for granted by regarding them as fools.

Zimbabweans have every right to express themselves peacefully, and no one should stand in the way of that.

The government has no right in determining what the people should or should not openly grieve about.

There is too much injustice, suffering and oppression in this country, such that people are fed up and they need to express themselves freely and openly.

No amount of gagging, repression, or intimidation will stop Zimbabweans from expressing themselves.

Stifling free expression has never worked anywhere in the world.

ZANU PF should be the first to acknowledge that.

This party was formed during the colonial times, where there was widespread oppression of the majority.

Both ZANU and ZAPU endured immense repression and stifling by the Ian Smith regime.

These two parties were banned for their revolutionary activities.

However, no amount of banning, threats, intimidation, restriction, detentions, imprisonment, abductions and disappearances, or assassinations ever dampened the people’s spirits.

The people boldly soldiered on unfazed, and eventually attained their hard-fought for independence in 1980.

During the colonial days, the majority of the oppressed people of this country did not even have any constitutionally-enshrined rights to fight for their freedoms and their country.

All the revolutionary activities of those years were illegal and unconstitutional, yet that did not stop the people.

In fact, the more they were oppressed, the more determined they became.

So why in the world would ZANU PF think that repressing the people would somehow dampen their spirits?

If this approach never worked for Ian Smith, why should it work for Robert Mugabe?

Are they somehow delusional enough to believe that today’s generation is weaker?

Well, they are mistaken.

It also took decades for the repressed people of Rhodesia to finally take more decisive action against the settler regime.

The people of this generation are also trying by all means to be patient with this government, hoping that their cries would be heard.

However, that patience is fast running out.

The people of this country are not even clamouring to engage in any unconstitutional means to have their voices heard, or for a democratic change of government.

They are leaning upon the country’s Constitution to express their displeasure at how the ZANU PF government is treating them, and for their desire for a new dispensation – nothing more.

The people want their suffering addressed as a matter of urgency.

The ZANU PF government can take away the people’s jobs, they can starve us, they can intimidate us, they can even kill us, but there is one thing they can never take away – and that is how the people of Zimbabwe truly feel about them – the people are angry, fed-up and repulsed by this government, and they can never be silenced – if anything, they can only get even more determined.

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

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