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An incogitant generation in the face of tyranny

By Mutsa Murenje

In coming up with this monograph, I have had to follow the advice of two persons, John Wooden and Fred Komatsu. I have been thinking about what exactly do I want people to say about me when I am long gone? And, this thought is based on the assumption that I will be worth of their remembrance.

Mutsa Murenje
Mutsa Murenje

My answer to the thought was provided by John Wooden who reasoned thus:

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

I write out of conviction with no goal to entertain anybody.

I tend to be serious when I address serious matters and it is with this in mind that you, my readers, are going through this piece. I concur that “If you have the feeling that something is wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up” (Fred Komatsu).

This is our story as Zimbabweans. We have lived under Zanu PF domination and oppression for close to four decades, since the fall of colonialism in 1980.

This is our experience. We have had, a number of times, to choose our leaders, renewing their mandate so that they may implement whatever programmes they intended for us, their subjects. For I don’t see a solicitous and caring leadership. All I see is a group of criminal elements whose sole objective is personal aggrandisement at the expense of poor citizens.

I am glad though that those within Zimbabwe’s frontiers and possibly those in neighbouring countries will have the opportunity to use their voice in the 2018 elections so that they may get rid of a corrupt cabal running the affairs of our country.

I still don’t understand though why Zimbabwe will come up with a diaspora policy centred on financial remittances and not our participation in governance issues.

Could it be that we are only citizens based on what financial contributions we make to Zimbabwe? It is my considered view that dwelling on what monetary benefits the country can get is rather inappropriate and unnecessary. Such an approach deprives us of the entire story of remittances.

That can only be a result of an incogitant generation that fails to see the evils that tyranny has wrought on our people.A more holistic approach is needed.

There can be no doubt whatsoever that there are monetary benefits associated with funds that migrant and diaspora communities remit to their countries of heritage and origin.

Although there is scarce documentary evidence instantiating the critical links between migration and development, remittances have been found to have a colossal effect on the livelihood standards of large numbers of people. Great human development goals continue to be realised in such areas as gender equality, health and education.

However, recent research has demonstrated that remittances alone are scarcely adequate. Participation in governance by migrant and diaspora communities is believed to guarantee sustainable local development. Required, therefore, are strategic partnerships between municipal authorities and hometown associations and migrants so that institutions and governance practices will be influenced while transforming local development initiatives.

Our voices need to be heard and we can’t allow an establishment that continues to behave as if we don’t exist. Why can’t we be allowed to use our voices to contribute to the nationalist project?

I applaud the existence of multiple voices opposed to President Robert Mugabe’s tyranny in Zimbabwe. Notable are the voices from our disgruntled war veterans who for decades were instruments of tyranny against our struggle for freedom, justice and equality. It is significant that an influential clique of these veterans has lost its privileges under the current brutal and oppressive regime.

This loss of privilege has somehow brought this grouping to its senses to such an extent that it now believes that Zimbabweans, and only Zimbabweans, have the perquisite to elect their preferred leaders without having to lose their lives and limbs. This is a welcome development that we ought to accept and receive with both hands.

I reiterate, as I have argued elsewhere in my writings, that we need to fight this war from a united front. This means that we need to fight together with the veterans who are now aware that Zimbabwe will never be where she ought to be until and unless we are where we ought to be as a collective.

I am a citizen who is acutely aware of my role in our country. I wish I could be remembered for my indefatigable loyalty to Zimbabwe. Whenever I have put my thoughts on paper, I have done so out of conviction. I know in painful detail that the regime presiding over the affairs of Zimbabwe is incredibly brutal, corrupt at its core, and knows nothing about democracy.

It is my desire and that of other Zimbabweans that we be good citizens. Factionalism in Zanu PF has reached preposterous levels and if untamed is capable of causing anarchy in our country. Zimbabweans need to live in a country with rules and regulations and standards.

I wouldn’t want to be Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa at this point in time. The man has been pushed hither and thither and seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place — there is just no escape route for him. He needs to convince Mugabe that he is not leading the Lacoste faction and he can only do that by remaining in the party.

His options are, therefore, limited and chances that he will succeed Mugabe are dwindling with each passing day. The so-called anointed successor is not anointed after all. Chances that he will ever succeed his boss are quite remote and nothing will be gained by assuming or even wishing the contrary.

Mnangagwa might have held in his hands a mug with the inscription “I’m the boss”, but nothing can be further from the truth! The war veterans backing him have already been expelled from Zanu PF and theirs has been a painful trajectory almost akin to that of the Zanu PF chairpersons who met in Tsholotsho in 2004.

We have heard that the tiff between Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and Mnangagwa emanated from events of the year 2004. Nothing suggests that it is ending anytime soon. It might not even end!

In view of the foregoing, I would like to submit that the Zimbabwean opposition has a better chance of winning massively the 2018 elections. We can’t afford to be incogitant, thoughtless perhaps, as we have been before.

We have been sleeping on the job and this is the only chance we have to redeem ourselves and convince the suffering and oppressed people of Zimbabwe that we are equal to the task and are the only alternative between their freedom and prosperity on the one hand and their poverty and misery on the other.

May God bless Zimbabwe! The struggle continues unabated!

Mutsa Murenje writes in his personal capacity