Zimbabweans’ passiveness a huge enticement for dictators

As I was watching a news report on the protests by Kenyans who felt cheated in the recently held elections, won by incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta, I could not help but be bewildered by Zimbabweans' apparent passiveness in the face of incessant oppression, and vote rigging.

What came into my mind was: what dictator would not be enticed by such apparent passiveness?

The way we, as Zimbabweans, are so tolerant of all manner of oppression, and vote rigging, is as tempting to a dictator as to one who picks up a name-tagged bag full of cash and struggles in deciding whether to return it to its owner or not.

One can never justify stealing, and neither can dictatorship be justified, but Zimbabweans make it so easy for these despots to thrive.

In fact, I was wondering that – considering ZANU PF’s unenviable record in vote rigging – do we have a plan in the most likely event that next year’s elections are stolen?

Are we going to resort to our usual complaints in the media, and to the toothless and vulgarly biased Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU), without doing anything substantive?

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, advocating violence, but instead support fully our constitutionally enshrined rights to peaceful demonstrations and resistance.

I am a proponent of protracted peaceful demonstrations and resistance that will not cease until justice prevails.

I strongly believe that the greatest weakness we have had with previous mass demonstrations is that they were one-dayers, and such, an approach only viable in bringing awareness to a cause, but never forces a dictatorship to change.

The Zimbabwe liberation struggle was waged as a protracted war – until all parties involved were forced to negotiate – not as a ‘Sinoia Battle’ type of one-day venture.

The same approach is needed today, albeit peacefully, if there is to be any hope of genuine change.

As Zimbabwe swiftly heads towards the 2018 elections, and the Opposition is clamouring for meaningful electoral reforms, the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) would be better advised that the current intermittent demonstrations are unlikely to achieve any significant results.

The whole nation needs to be  mobilised, such that these demands for electoral reforms are not viewed as a political party agenda, but a Zimbabwean one.

The whole nation has to come together and bravely stand firmly in protracted peaceful demonstrations and resistance that will not end till meaningful reforms have been put in place.

As much as we all want to make a living, and as such, would not want to spend weeks, if not months, on the streets, Zimbabweans have to finally make a firm decision on what we really want for this country.

We truly need a cost/benefit analysis of our situation, whereby we determine whether giving preference to our basic survival today, whilst our situation deteriorates, is more important than sacrificing today’s needs for a better tomorrow.

Based on the experience most Zimbabweans have endured over the past 37 years, the situation in this country is only deteriorating, and if nothing is done to finally put a stop to this rot, our preferences to make a living today will mean nothing tomorrow, as the country would be a wasteland.

Zimbabwe needs men and women who have the same spirit as the genuine heroes of the liberation struggle, who gave up the little they had in the hope of a better tomorrow – not the opportunistic mercenaries who hijacked the struggle for their own aggrandisement, and have become our oppressors today.

This new breed of Zimbabweans should be bold and brave enough not to flinch under sustained oppression and repression, whether be it killings, arrests, torture, forced disappearances, or even teargassing and pepper spraying on the streets.

Zimbabwe needs a new breed of revolutionaries who would never buckle under whatever pressure and repression.

Our desire for genuine freedom and prosperity should be enough to embolden us to stand up against anything, as long as we know that we are doing it lawfully and with a clear mind that we are not puppets of some foreign entity, but Zimbabweans who have had enough.

For how long will Zimbabweans stand by whilst 50,000 were wantonly murdered in a genocidal Gukurahundi?

Zimbabweans lose all their lifetime of savings, and all we can do is grumble in kombis and in our houses.

Our neighbour’s house is burnt down just because they were opposition supporters, and we just shake our heads, and go on with our lives as if nothing significant happened.

Elections are stolen left, right, and centre, and we merely issue press statements, and make fiery statements at rallies.

Such will never bring any change to our situation in Zimbabwe.

We are not paid for our work, yet we put in all our efforts for years…but all we can do is go into endless and meaningless negotiations.

We are the ones who are hungry…we are the ones who are suffering…we are the ones who are dying as a result of lack of proper medical facilities…we are the ones whose children are being denied high standard education as schools lack every basic necessity.

Zimbabweans can no longer afford being passive and hope that the situation will magically resolve itself.

We all need to stand together in genuine unity.

We do not need any foreign entity to tell us that we are suffering and that we have had enough.

Such insinuations by those in power are nothing short of insulting, as we are viewed as nincompoops – which explains the manner they treat us.

Zimbabweans have had enough of oppression, so why would we want to invite another oppressor to come into our country?

All what Zimbabweans demand is a positive change in their situation, based on a constitution that even the ruling party subscribed to – nothing less and nothing more – and no amount of repression can stop a peaceful revolution whose time has come.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, and author. Please WhatsApp/call: +263782283975, or email: [email protected]

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