By Grace Kwinjeh
“In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.” Rep. John Lewis.
We are dying. We are burying one of our own on a daily basis. Death announcements are a daily ordeal, strangely for a country that is not at war, the pain and anguish is just too much. We can’t breadth. Something is not right.
We need deliverance from the double scourge of Covid-19 and poverty. This is a time for decisive leadership, not one given to uncontrolled emotional rants, we have had enough of that, the urgency requires steadiness of character, moral aptitude and discernment. Advocate Nelson Chamisa is mourning the passing of his mother, creating gap in leadership some are filling with absolute crap.
An uncertain season in which some in our midst must graduate from being activists to politicians.
We are in sad trying times for that type of leadership, we do not have the luxury while fighting an invisible enemy in Covid-19.
A friend recently shared a video, I have failed to erase from memory, of a man with a wounded foot, a deep one being feasted on by maggots. If this video is indeed of a patient admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Zimbabwe, then we are doomed. This being just a small microcosmic example of a bigger national health disaster.
All this emotional anguish, resulting trauma at times comes with a certain paralysis, a numbness, an acceptance of an undesirable fate. And that can’t be allowed to be. A way out has to be found, to deal with the most pressing challenge and I believe that it is to equip hospitals to effectively deal the COVID-19 pandemic. Corruption too must fall. This takes a collective response by all of us Zimbabweans.
We have genuine grievances that need government’s urgent response, and I still contend that the momentum for such can only be build on a non-partisan platform that unites us as citizens, shunning diversionary tactics by certain elements in our midst.
I warned in my last article against allowing the MDC Alliance cabal to sabotage the 31st July Movement, they are toxic and lack direction. The MDC Alliance as I have argued before has failed to dismantle the patriarchal model of liberation, and I like that feminists are once again revisiting this important issue. A new Zimbabwe can’t be birthed on such a flawed foundation.
Patriarchy based on a neo-liberal notions of power and violent rhetoric. It has a very narrow agenda, with selective amnesia of places where such a strategy has had absolutely disastrous consequences.
I carry no brief for Ngarivhume, I am just as excited as any other Zimbabwean to be part of a non-partisan process that unites us as suffering masses in our diversity, in control of our destiny, leading to our healing and restoration.
It makes no sense that I for instance should leave the toxic mainstream opposition politics, a result of the cabal’s never ending bungling, only to have the same lot come and lead a people’s movement, that I am in. The past days have been ones of vindication. Same script, same selfish players and same results.
The past days leading to July 31 have taught us a number of good lessons, to do with leadership, strategic planning, messaging and end result goals.
It is demonstrably foolhardy, to assume that you can give any regime in any part of the world notice to remove it from power and it will just fold its arms and watch you do it.
Unless there is some hidden agenda to set innocent citizens up against the regime for violent retribution, because it is not making sense at all. For all its worth recent history proves how the 2017 coup was carried out with amazing discretion, even when army tanks were rolling out on the street, we did not believe it was a coup.
Consequently, the war language rhetoric, based on bush analogies, during July 31 protests, aggravated matters, gave Zanu PF the perfect chance to go into its default setting, unleashing the most brutal violence against innocent civilians, journalists not spared.
It should be understood that war violence rhetoric is not a sign of courage, many are courageous men and women and I quote the late Rep. John Lewis above who stood for non-violent resistance, with amazing results, that transformed a whole racist system.
The working class become the useful tools and casualties for a war strategy, while the elites are in the comfort of their homes watching a good game of Arsenal over a fine wine.
It can’t be like this anymore, I will speak out, because this is my destiny too and many other good people out there.
We need a way out of this horrible situation. As I said before you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.
Politicians don’t have a monopoly over the solutions to the many problems and challenges we are faced with.
Relying on a false sense of victory because of a social media frenzy, not based on the actual realities on the ground, fear being the biggest demobilising factor.
Come D-Day the cabal was conspicuous by its absence, it was also afraid.
Furthermore, by politicising July 31, the moment lost moral attractiveness and many who could have come out in support did not.
An authentic people’s movement that is led and driven by the people themselves is still possible. Not all is lost from the past experience, never mind the horrors of abductions and arrests.
Woman power is to be celebrated, Womadla, girl power. Women spoke out, stood out with amazing courage led from the front. See this is the beauty of working outside the limitations of patriarchal structures that our political parties are anchored on, woman gets a space and a voice to express herself, her desires, her lament. Her lived experience is no longer spoken on behalf of her, she gets her voice, we saw her express this throughout the country. There was also inter-generational convergence among the women.
Interestingly, the countries that have done the best in dealing with COVID-19 response are all led by women.
The July 31 movement can still find its feet, moral ground and integrity to unite us all and give us a fighting chance.
Grace Kwinjeh is a journalist and and women’s rights advocate.