These could be hurts, resentments, or pain and suffering – all the same, we believe keeping these feelings to ourselves would be the best way of, not only dealing with the anguish, but also sparing others our own personal problems.
Yet, as I was reading one of renowned award-winning journalist and anti-corruption activist Hopewell Chin’ono’s most recent social media posts, I could not help coming face-to-face with those unpalatable feelings and thoughts – as they were brought to the fore, out of the dark carefully hidden recesses of my mind and heart.
Chin’ono was questioning why there were those urging the likes of opposition CCC leader, Nelson Chamisa, to risk their lives, and taking a more confrontational approach against the brutal heinous, oppressive and corruption-riddled ZANU PF regime – a demand that has recently been put across by several prominent activists within our nation.
He presented an impassioned and thought-provoking case, questioning why the ordinary people of Zimbabwe would demand for our opposition leaders to place their lives on the line – and, basically, not only sacrificing their own lives, but also placing those of their spouses and children at risk – yet, they (Zimbabweans) are not prepared to lift a finger in standing with these leaders in their hours of great peril and persecution, at the hands of the ruthless bloodthirsty government.
He gave the example of prominent lawyer and CCC deputy chair Job Sikhala – who has been one of the few most agile and militant activists for positive change in the country, and has been arrested nearly 60 times by the heartless kleptomaniac regime in the past two decades, without ever been convicted of any crime – who is currently languishing in prison, as both the state and courts repeatedly oppose and deny him his constitutional right to bail.
Nonetheless, in all this, he has virtually been left hanging high and dry by ordinary Zimbabweans – who have practically abandoned him, save for some messages of support only on social media, yet nowhere to be seen converging at the courts, or taking a more visible and tangible physical stance.
Chin’ono went further in asserting that, as soon as Sikhala was set free, he would advise him to refocus his energies towards his own career and family – and, concentrating more on preserving their wellbeing and safety – by taking a backseat to his current militant stance, as it was not worth it.
Why risk everything for a nation that can never be bothered in playing their part in the struggle for a New Zimbabwe?
Sikhala and others run well-established law firms, and why continue to jeopardise their livelihoods for a people that would not care less if he was sacrificing so much for them?
This statement really touched the very core of my heart – and nearly brought me to tears!
All those feelings that had been bottled up for far too long came rushing to the fore
I began thinking of my own life
How many Zimbabweans actually know that, as a result of my writings – that speak out for the oppressed and suffering citizenry, who have endured unbridled pain and poverty, sadistically authored by the ruling elitist privileged clique, who have plundered and pillaged our national resources – I have made myself unemployable in the country?
Unlike those running their own well-established firms – as an activists predominantly skilled and passionate in writing, public relations and communications, and media – I am largely reliant on seeking employment from those with their own businesses.
As such, having someone now widely-known more for his anti-regime outspokenness on their team, has become an unattractive proposition – leading most of those I have approached for employment understandably rather reluctant.
Let us remember that this is a country where self-censorship, motivated by a crippling fear of the regime, is widespread.
My only hope appears in human rights organizations – which, themselves, have cried over their constrained finances, to add me to their payroll.
I am, therefore, left in limbo.
All because I followed my passion to be the voice of the voiceless subjugated and marginalized impoverished people of Zimbabwe.
Yet, in so doing, I have placed my own family’s upkeep at great peril, as I find it extremely difficult to fend for them.
What then hurts me the most in all this is – the same suffering people of Zimbabwe are going about their lives, keeping their noses clean, and taking care of their families, with whatever little they have – apparently without a desire to take a firm stand against their oppressors.
How, then, is the New Zimbabwe that we have been fighting for, going to come to pass, when the effort is so lacklustre and half-hearted?
We, the people of Zimbabwe, appear to willfully forget that we do not live in a more democratic country, as Zambia or Malawi – and as such, using the methods of changing governments, as witnessed in those countries, will never work here.
So, why are we so laid back, believing things will work in our favor, somehow?
The bigger question for someone like me is – why have I destroyed my life, practically shutting close all the doors to a decent and dignified livelihood for my family – for a cause that all but appears dead in the water?
What have we been sacrificing for?
At the end of the day, we will never have a prosperous New Zimbabwe for all, where every citizen enjoys their freedom and shares equitably in the national cake – and, I might never have a decent source of income, due to my activism!
It really pains my heart to suffer financially like this – seemingly for nothing!
- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: [email protected]