By Zvisineyi Chiromo
If time was a judge, I am sure it would agree with me that us the people of Zimbabwe, have failed! We find and have found (for probably the last two decades) ourselves to be at a crossroad of either a point of no return or a point of refocusing our plight.
Zimbabwe cannot be a helpless land. We perpetually ask ourselves, what do we do? Or what can we do? Off course we can never get fresh answers from stale questions. We should ask new solution driven questions to unearth breakthrough actionable responses. This is our country.
As a lay person I wonder if we have a way to engage our government because we need collective solutions. I believe I speak for many when I say we don’t want to be politicians, what we want is a functioning country. We need to help one another to achieve this. We are dying every single day.
Many of us have felt the hopelessness that the Makamba family is facing right now. We have buried parents, children, relatives and friends who couldn’t get treatment on time or who couldn’t afford the treatment at all. This can no longer be about political affiliation, it’s about humanity and the future of generations who’ll wonder why we did nothing.
We are people. Living, breathing people and we need to forge a new way. Together. We will gladly leave the leadership to lead but we need them to know that we, the ones being led need to participate and that we demand tangible results.
The citizens of our country are not political participants. We are political commentators and have mastered the art of congregating in our small groups to discuss the fluctuations of the day. Real operational information is available to those in the know and those who are connected. How this information is used or not used, is an enigma.
Zimbabweans who’ve been exposed to other countries because of travel, residency or pure interest have witnessed what it means to engage with a country’s socio-political process. As violent or ill-planned as certain key international milestones have been, what is certain is citizens of progressive countries share one thing. They have a say in what happens within their land.
Whether they are considered or heard is not the issue, but they do make it a point to speak out and engage in one way or another as a citizenry.
For us Zimbabweans, we are more like an audience in a theatre. We pay for a chance to witness the powers that be at work and depending on the script, we watch with invested emotions, trying to make sense of the unfolding script, the different characters and the story line.
It’s akin to watching a cryptic movie that only starts to make sense in its final scene at which point we are told that no, this is a series with an infinite number of seasons.
We absorb ourselves in watching it, sieving through the plot, getting to a place of utter heart wrenching sadness, being pacified by a hero from the shadows who is ultimately defeated by key characters only to resurface again the next season.
We continue to wait for a change in the plot and give safe, tethered feedback to the producers, writers and creators of the story. We ask them to include some heartwarming changes in order to steer the plot from its abyss to a more palatable, relatable and friendly scenario.
At times, we see snippets of our ideas at play only to be rewritten in the usual tone. But because there is only one theatre house to watch in, the majority return time and again with hopes of a new set of characters, renewed dialogue and a fresh new set.
A few of us have learned to love this play and we have bought into the characters and their agendas and we pay to keep the theatre going and maintain our balcony seats. The question is, how can we change the narrative? This is what plagues our nation.
We are a capable people, once revered and respected even to a point of awe but who are now trapped in our own over reliance of knowledge. Unfortunately, knowledge is not power unless you act on it. Action is power and any change requires action.
How do we come from being commentators to participants? How can we move forward? Losing one of own to the coronavirus this week has shown how no matter the personal lifeboats we build for ourselves, we are still living in a massive ocean filled with drowning souls threatening to pull us down into the abyss.
We are always on the edge of a wave threatening to capsize us but as long as we remain afloat, seeing others with bigger boats, we ignore what’s happening below. We are more focused on staying afloat than on saving anyone who is drowning.
We appeal to our leaders always, because no nation can run without one. We wait for them to look back at us and extend a hand. We wait for them to refocus and remember to cultivate their relationship with us. That’s all we want. We are a wellspring of support but we need a trustworthy custodian. That wellspring is within our able hearts and minds. We’ve just been stuck, watching and waiting for too long.
One thing is sure. We can step up, we’ve already shown our ability to do this in the past few years. By acknowledging where we came from, analyzing why we are the way we are and birthing a new actionable mission as a people, we can rebuild our nation.
Surely, we cannot allow the future to define us as the generation that gave up on progress and merely hoped for survivals. We are not failures.
Zvisineyi Chiromo is a Zimbabwean based in the diaspora. You can follow her on Twitter: @Zvisineyi_C