By Senator Obert Gutu
I am a die-hard fan of one of reggae music’s legends, Gregory Isaacs. From the album Night Nurse, I will quote some of the lyrics from the hit song ‘Hot Stepper’.
“I thought it would be better/Now I’m a branded hot stepper
If I am guilty, Lord God/Then I will pay
Now I’m a victim/By the words men say
And now I’m wanted/There’s a price on my head
So I, so I/Said I’m a wanted
But Jah won’t let the wicked capture I, no way”
Zimbabweans are independent, but we are not free. We have sovereignty but our hands are still in chains. We fought against an oppressive system of colonialism but we replaced it with a more vicious system of one man rule; a dictatorship. We are not free. We are still in bondage.
We have allowed the dictatorship to hold us to ransom. We have been brutalised, vandalised and trashed. Our lives have been cheapened. Our very existence as human beings has been degraded. We have suffered and we continue to suffer. Some of us have decided to escape this misery by settling in the Diaspora.
But is the Diaspora the solution? Surely, should we resign our fate to the dictatorship? Should we meekly surrender and be driven like a lamb to the slaughter? Is this the rationale for having waged a bitter and protracted armed struggle against racist, colonial oppression? Are we now free? Are we happy? Where is the humanity?
There is something fundamentally wrong with a revolution that cannibalises its own. There is no morality in a revolution that has long lost its way; a revolution that has gone awry. When thugs, looters and kleptocrats hijack an otherwise just cause; everything that can go wrong will go wrong.
When leaders overstay in positions of power and authority, you will experience unprecedented economic and socio-political decay. When old age stubbornly refuses to give way to new blood, you will be stuck in a conundrum of despair and hopelessness. Which way Zimbabwe? Which way our beloved motherland?
This is not about Zanu PF. This is not about party politics. This is about nationalism. This is about Zimbabwe. Some of us are immensely proud that we have never supported Zanu PF in our entire lives. As young boys, we were die-hard Zapu stalwarts. For in Joshua Nkomo, we saw a colossal political giant; a humanist, a philanthropist; in short, a very good man. May his departed soul rest in eternal peace.
We refused to be swayed by hostile and cheap propaganda. We are smart enough to distinguish true and legitimate revolutionaries from latter day political turncoats and scavengers. We are old enough to know these charlatans. They are men and women with no shame. They have absolutely no shame. Some of them have never won any election in their entire lives and they are already in the sunset of their miserable political lives!
They will participate, again, in the forthcoming harmonised elections; but again they will be thrashed in the ballot box. These men are hopeless losers. But they have no conscience; no pride, no humanity. The system has used them like political condoms. Now that they no longer have anything new to offer, they will be discarded and forgotten. These are little men with no integrity. They have no honour. Indeed, they have no dignity.
An oppressor is an oppressor; whether he is black or white. A system that contaminates an otherwise professional police force to become a ruthless appendage of a political party that has seen better days is a bad system. It will not be sanitised by some tired pseudo-revolutionary political rhetoric. The people of Zimbabwe have had enough of this gerontocracy.
From 1980, the people have been fed on a consistent diet of lies and deceit. In the process, the majority of the people have been pauperised. A staggering 90% rate of unemployment. From being a net food exporter just less than 15 years ago to being a basket case and a net food importer! This is Zanu PF for you! Vintage Zanu PF! A history of unprecedented corruption and thievery. The more you steal, the more you get promoted.
We are not advocating for anarchy. No. We are not arguing that criminals should not be arrested and prosecuted. All we are crying out for is justice and fairness. We are extremely worried when known rapists and murderers continue to roam the streets freely.
We know that Talent Mabika and his colleague were brutally murdered at Murambinda in the year 2000. We know their murderers, one of whom has actually been consistently promoted in the state security service. But these thugs and murderers have never been prosecuted, let alone taken in by the Police for interrogation.
Over the years, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has degenerated into a renegade police force that operates more like an armed militia of a political organisation. They have since lost all pretence towards professionalism. It is a mockery of justice when a senior policeman publicly campaigns for a political grouping that is destined to suffer a humiliating defeat in the impending make or break harmonised elections; or for any other political party for that matter.
We call upon these disgraced men to urgently resign from the police force so we can effectively deal with them in the political melting pot. They cannot have it both ways. Certainly, they cannot and should never be allowed to have their cake and eat it. One of these shameless policemen is openly campaigning for a Parliamentary seat somewhere in Buhera but he still has the audacity to masquerade as the ZRP deputy national spokesperson. Surely, the gods must be crazy!
We are not cowards. We don’t fear these hopeless and evil little men. We will continue to stand up to them. We believe in the justness of our cause. We are not sell-outs; never have been and never will be. We love Zimbabwe so dearly that’s why we decided to dabble in active politics.
We will continue to call a spade a spade. If you are a chicken, we will call you a chicken; and not a lion! The politics of brutality and thuggery will never break our spirits. Our cause is just and more importantly, God is on our side.
We are not going to participate in a bloodbath that is packaged as an election. We know that these thugs have decided to go for broke. It is clear that they are heading for a humiliating electoral defeat and so they have decided to throw all caution to the wind.
They will intimidate, arrest, detain, rape, maim and even kill. We know their modus operandi very well. Over the years, they have learnt nothing and they have also forgotten nothing. They should never, ever be trusted. They are dangerous. Extremely dangerous.
But then Zimbabwe is not a sole preserve of these shameless and brutal thugs. Zimbabwe belongs to all of us. We all fought for this country. No-one is more special than the other. The situation on the ground is most disturbing. Young Christpower Miasiri was brutally murdered and to this date, not a single soul has been taken in for questioning by the police besides the numerous leads that were given to them.
The Glen View 29 are being dragged through a costly criminal trial when it is abundantly clear that they have no case to answer. Five of the accused persons remain incarcerated when it is clear that they should be admitted to bail. They are not a flight risk. They don’t deserve to remain locked up.
It is a fundamental principle of criminal law that in a bail application, the court should always lean in favour of the liberty of the subject unless the interests of the State dictate otherwise. Where are we heading to as nation? Is this the rule of law or this is the rule by law?
My generation and indeed, the generations to come after us, should refuse to be intimidated. We should never give in to these desperate tactics of a dying dictatorship. We should refuse to be treated as sub-human beings in the country of our birth. We should resolutely continue to wage our peaceful and democratic resistance to this tyranny.
The tyrants are cornered. But like a wounded buffalo, they are at their most lethal. The tell tale signs of a very violent election campaign are there for everyone to see. But as I have already stated, we should refuse to take part in a bloodbath that is disguised as an election. These tyrants have lost all credibility nationally, regionally and internationally. They are losers; hopeless losers.
Going forward, we should strenuously insist that the electoral playing field be evened up if we are to participate in these make or break elections. We should demand equal and unfettered access to the state-controlled print and electronic media.
The security sector should be re-aligned so that they know that they are servants of the people and not tools of Zanu PF. There is absolutely no need to rush to hold an election in this kind of an environment.
At this rate, the outcome of the election will be hotly contested. Holding an election under these conditions will be tantamount to an exercise in futility. Nothing lasts forever. The dictatorship has seen better days. They are enjoying their last supper. But the time for reckoning is nigh.
Obert Gutu is the Senator for Chisipite in Harare and the MDC Harare provincial spokesperson. He is also the Deputy Minister of Justice & Legal Affairs
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