By Solomon Madzore
Winston Churchill once remarked that; “One thing we have learned from history, is that we never learn from history” That is very true of all dictators. The handiende syndrome threatens to reverse the gains Zimbabwe had when it attained independence in 1980.
That is selfishness of the day in Zimbabwe today. Wise people have maintained that a society is judged by how it treats its weakest and powerless citizens. I guess these are the orphans, the elderly, the homeless, those living with disabilities and prisoners.
In Zimbabwe today, these people are treated like nonentities and peripheries of our society while some few people under the guise of having fought in the war of the liberation of Zimbabwe enjoy the fruits of their “entitlements” to power and riches.
They use such false “entitlements” to create a culture of impunity and disdain for the rule of law. These people even want to defy themselves, when they take to the podium, they even have the audacity to claim that we are all equal and yet we clearly know that these Zimbabweans are more
equal than others.
My message to the young people of Zimbabwe today is, the majority of the youths suffer from abject poverty and depend on handouts yet at the very same time, the children of Zanu PF top hierarchy are suffocating with wealth, both locally and abroad.
The majority of the youths struggle to put food on the table but our nation is hyped to possess a huge industrial base of minerals. The youths still suffer due to HIV/ AIDS, malaria, TB, hunger, extreme poverty, poor or no housing at all, lack of access to education and poor health and unemployment among other ills. I am still to regain my liberty, the unlawful Zanu PF detention continues unabated. Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF do not comprehend the sacredness of freedom.
They continue to live in perpetual fear, the fear of the unknown and the fear of the very people they helped to liberate. Dan Brown in his book, The Davinci Code, noted that; “Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire”. That is true of Zanu PF.
This monster is so afraid of the people of Zimbabwe that they have chosen to digress in every facet of life and brutality and intimidation is their default ideology. Whenever they look at the youths, they see loss of their power instead of seeing progress and rejuvenation.
They have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that like a mule, they are not able to reproduce themselves, locking away political opponents does not help their cause in any way. Interestingly, my being in prison has helped me to witness the pathetic and sorry state and conditions under which Zimbabwean prisoners live, most of them being youth offenders.
Their crimes include robbery, stock theft, fraud, aggravated assault and murder, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and rape among others. The majority of these crimes are the economic meltdown of the past 12 years.
The criminal justice system in this country is a complete mess and a disservice to the citizens, exacerbated by an overzealous, corrupt, partisan, arrogant and ignorant police leaders and an equally evil and vampire-like Attorney General’s office.
These institutions of terror have been used by Zanu PF’s top to hand very stiff sentences ranging from 10 to 250 years. Zanu PF uses the police, the courts and prison services to continue their hold on power.
Overcrowding is the order of the day in all Zimbabwe’s prisons, punctuated by poor diet, poor clothing and poor health delivery to inmates. There is no rehabilitation going on, and whatever little facilities that is used and was left by the colonial regime in 1980 are now obsolete.
Zimbabwe has the largest number of prisoners outside war zones. People are imprisoned without parole or amnesty; they serve long prison sentences for petty crimes and live under harsh conditions.
Homosexuality is practiced almost openly by some desperate inmates.
Remember there are no conjugal rights; there is no psychological counselling or systematic skills training to empower and rehabilitate offenders. The justice system is not swift and one can spend many years before the State is ready to prosecute. Quite a number of offenders do not complete their sentences because they die in prison.
It is a sad story in Zimbabwe today that the police, the courts Zimbabwe Prison Service represent Zanu PF’s illegitimate and unorthodox means of social and political control. Their role includes protecting Zanu PF loyalists from prosecution.
One thing is true though, prison life comes to an end one day. This life matrix can also be applied to dictatorships of all kinds; they come to an end one way or another. I am certainly not the first to suffer under Zanu PF’s oppressive and coercive machinery.
My consolation is that victory against this oppression, repression and suppression is nigh. If my unlawful detention and that of my fellow accused men and women is part of the price we have to pay for a better Zimbabwe then, so be it! We will always be together in spirit.
I am alive to the fact that you aspire to live productive and meaningful lives, free from harassment and all forms of State sponsored violence. I know you want education but you can not access it.
Education has been reduced to a privilege by the ruling elite; health delivery is very poor due to an acute shortage of health workers, medication and poor health facilities. Unemployment hovers above 90 percent however there is hope after all this shadow of hopelessness, there is a meaning to our lives beyond this political crisis created by a tired, hopeless, archaic, myopic, clueless and brutal Mugabe and his Zanu PF.
We are sick and tired of lack of progress in our lives. The ball is in our court, we must make sure that each eligible young person is registered to vote, both in the referendum and in the general elections.
I have no doubt whatsoever that at the end of it all, Morgan Tsvangirai shall lead Zimbabwe to a better future. They can demonise him left, right and centre but we will vote for him and the winning team.
I have no doubt that Mugabe will go after elections. Forget the empty threats by the so called army generals. We do not eat threats. The youths are already aroused to mobilise and organize a historical and unprecedented youth voter turn out that has never been seen in this country.
We want change and indeed change is what we will get. We refuse to drink from the poisoned chalice of the Kasukuweres of this era; we refuse and reject the “Mahosorisation” of our thinking and intelligence.
We refuse to be brainwashed by political prostitutes like Jonathan Moyo. The youths of Zimbabwe are too smart for such cheap and devious talk on both State sponsored TV and radios. Democracy entails the minimum bundle of rights, freedom of choice and also the right to change leaders regularly.
Politicians must come and go and should not wait to be forced out like Mali’s Toumani Toure, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo, DRC’s Mobuto Sese Seko or die in office like Bingu waMutharika and many others.
All had a choice to retire peacefully and with dignity but chose to cling to power against their people’s will. Their ends were disgraceful. Even the bible says it in Judges 4 and Isaiah 14.
We must prepare ourselves to sacrifice in a way that we have not done before by ensuring that our votes are registered, cast, counted and protected. Voting is our right. Let me urge you the youths of Zimbabwe to go in your multitudes and register to vote. We want to ensure 80 to 100 percent youth voter turn out.
I encourage all of you who have turned 18 and above, meaning those doing their, A Levels, college and university students, young single mothers and fathers, the employed and unemployed, living with disabilities and all legible voters to go and register to vote and be ready to make a difference.
As for some of us who are in prison, the Zanu PF machinery can only imprison our bodies and never our spirits. We are free inside ourselves. They are the ones shackled in perpetual prison of fear, guilty and shame.
Solomon Madzore – MDC Youth Assembly Chairperson