Zanu PF uses the same tools that the colonialists once did
When you have a low self esteem, anyone can manipulate who you become.
By Vince Musewe
In my last article, I briefly spoke about the concept of mental models, and how they control how we relate to the world. Our mental models determine our relationships, our economics, our politics and virtually our very existence, especially how we relate to and interact with the universe.
Our history, experience or exposure, plays a decisive part in that. In Zimbabwe, our past and especially our post independent political experience, has played an essential role in shaping what we have become as a society, particularly what we value.
Centuries of slavery, colonialism, racism, and economic bondage in Africa led to black Africans truly believing that they are indeed, an inferior race and thus, were not entitled to the same social and economic benefits which the colonialists were entitled to.
This is the most treacherous thing that happened in the past that, even to this day, it still affects how as blacks, we relate to whites, the world and to each other.
Thank goodness we had individuals such as Herbert Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo, Josiah Tongogara, Josiah Chinamano, Leopold Takawira, Ndabaningi Sithole, Jason Moyo and many others, who refused to accept that they were lesser individuals, and personally did something to challenge the status quo and change their circumstances. We must continue to honor them for that and also continually recapture that spirit of personal dignity, courage and pride.
Followed by colonialism, was political independence where, we as black Zimbabweans truly believed that finally, we were free. However, as we all know, we have ended up somewhat worse off than we anticipated.
The sole reason for this is because ZANU (PF) used exactly the same mentality and laws that the colonialists used to keep our aspirations subject to their control. Those who now purport to be champions of our political freedom have continued to do their best to injure our self esteem lest, we become too confident to remove them from power.
They have used the media to influence our mental models on what is possible, intelligence officers to intimidate us, laws to prevent us from evening getting together to discuss our circumstances and every means imaginable, to prevent us on challenging the status quo.
They have successfully suppressed the power of individual self confidence – the same qualities that led our fallen heroes and heroines, to challenge the colonial status quo. The medicine used to enslave us in the past, has become their key to continue to dominate us.
The sad reality is that, we have even consented to be continually told that we are nothing but “povo” and they are the “chefs”. Years of oppression by our own, have resulted in a majority of us accepting low standards of living as a normal circumstance.
Accepting erratic power and water has become normal, even when we are charged for what we have not consumed. Some of us even truly believe that, no other Zimbabwean can lead this country or be president except Mugabe.
We have even begun to accept that you have to have participated in the armed struggle to rule or to be anybody who matters. This pattern of thinking has led to degenerating conditions of life for most. We do not challenge the police when they demean or abuse us in public.
Instead we all watch and do nothing about it. We are okay living next to rubbish dumps, of having pot holes in the roads, robots that do not work. The number young single girls who have babies but can hardly feed or look after amazes me.
For me, that is the low self esteem I am talking about, it’s everywhere. We have over time, developed such a low self esteem or self image of ourselves that, we now accept poverty as normal despite our resources and despite how educated we Zimbabweans are. We have, over a protracted period of time, actively disempowered ourselves.
Our response has been to do the same to others, especially those that are dependent on us. Bosses disrespect employees and they don’t even pay them on time and its okay, they still pitch for work anyway.
We abuse women and disrespectfully treat the elderly including our pensioners whom we pay a mere USD50 a month after 30 years of employment. In the mean time, our government spends millions on travel and luxury cars using our taxes, while public transport is atrocious.
Our typical response is that, because we have such a low self esteem, we have transferred our self image into material or external things. My observations are that Zimbabweans seem very fulfilled and important when they are driving very expensive large vehicles which have actually become part of their personality.
This therefore means that, any person who can stop us from having these or any person who can give us these things controls who we become. Money has become a god, talent and virtue a handicap and corruption a vice. That is truly laughable.
You see, when you have a low self esteem, you use material things, position or power as justification of abusing others. Because of this, anyone can manipulate who you are and you act and live according to what they want you to be, and not who God made you to be.
Those who have been in abusive relationships will know this. You even begin to justify why you should be treated with disrespect. Now, our challenge is to reverse this defeatist thinking, and create a society where Zimbabweans truly believe in themselves, and are able to live up to their full potential.
Where Zimbabweans demand good political leadership or they vote them out. Where Zimbabweans refuse to board kombis that squeeze in 20 people like sardines, because it puts their lives at risk.
Where we refuse to pay for public services not rendered, and where we refuse to pay for shoddy customer service and overpriced products or services by our companies. Where we refuse to be abused or controlled by any individual whether in our personal relationships, in business or politics.
I truly suppose that, it is only then, that we can truly say that we are a free people. Our next government must keep their word to us and develop our communities and deliver better social services.
They must account on how they use our taxes and more important, if we are not happy, we must be able to dismiss them. Our new leadership must live within the means of the country and must get their priorities right. That is the democracy we must create.
It is my opinion that, creating such an environment means that we must first change our mental models and take responsibility for creating the life conditions that we desire. We must rebuild Zimbabweans’ pride. It may tarry but we shall get there.
In my opinion, that is what ZANU (PF) fears most because, the future is no longer what it used to be. You see my fellow Zimbabweans; low self esteem uses fear, intimidation and violence to get its way.
As Zimbabweans, from today, we must refuse to be treated like a nobody by anyone. That twinkle in your eye or that passion you once had about your future and your potential must come back as we rebuild a new Zimbabwe. You are responsible for that.
I truly wish you the best and I hope that you shall live up to your full potential in this lifetime.
Vince Musewe is an independent economist. You may contact him on email@example.com
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