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Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: The Youth Must Rise…. to the national challenge

By Luke Tamborinyoka

The census scheduled for later this year will yet again confirm that the youth as a demographic group constitute the majority of the country’s population.

Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye with Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka
Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye with Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka

As we stand on the cusp of the decisive phase of our democratic struggle, this generation whose future has been squandered by the clueless and corrupt elite in government must stand up and play a more prominent role in positively shaping their lived circumstances and their future.

Throughout history and across jurisdictions, it is the youth that have stood up to the mediocrity of their time and engendered truly new dispensations that infused a renewed sense of hope about the future. Across the world, young people have always been the torch-bearers in the unstinting quest for freedom, democracy, decency and dignity.

It was the young people in Zimbabwe that took up arms and confronted the colonial Smith regime. But times have changed. Today’s youth may have to robustly use the soft power of their twitter and blog universe to express their utmost revulsion against the deteriorating human rights and governance system in the country.

In Tunisia in 2011, it was 26-year old Mohamed Bouazizi who ignited the revolution that reaped a democratic dividend for an entire sub-region and on the 14th of January the same year, dictator Ben Ali had no choice but to flee to Saudi Arabia.

It was equally these young people that led similarly popular but morally legitimate protests in Yemen, Jordan, Algeria and Oman in what became popularly known as the Arab Spring.

On 25 January 2011, droves of mainly young people numbering about 50 000 poured into Tahrii Square in downtown Cairo in a huge mass protest against Hosni Mubarak.

It was similarly audacious young men and women who perished for a legitimate quest at Sharpeville in apartheid South Africa. It was the same revolutionary generation that tore down the Berlin Wall. It was young people that stoically stood before the armed taunt at Tiananmen Square in China in June 1989.

The youth have always been a revolutionary generation; a generation that neither accepts nor tolerates killer regimes such as the illegitimate regime in Harare. A regime dripping in the blood of innocent citizens. An autocracy that has captured all institutions of the State as part of a wicked, sinister and morally reprehensible plot to decimate the legitimate opposition in the country.

In Zimbabwe, the young generation of short skirts and sagging jeans must step up to the plate. The short skirts are reflective of the shortened life expectancy and the short-sightedness of their leaders, of not the abundant opportunities that have skirted them. And it is not just their jeans that are sagging, but their hopes and opportunities as well!

For the youth of this country, the horizon has been misted by a clueless government that couped its way into office amid a false clamour of creating jobs under the equally false mantra of ” Zimbabwe is Open for Business .” Yet the country is shut for hope—with the only jobs created being those for Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Karanga tribesmen and tribeswomen from Masvingo and the Midlands provinces.

As I said last week, even the staggered, choreographed defections have a tribal and regional flavour to them. Only 48 hours ago, Obert Gutu, a Karanga of the Madyirapazhe totem who comes from Gutu in Masvingo and James Mzkore, of Mnangagwa’s Shumba Murambwi totem and who like him also comes from Chivi, defected from Douglas Mwonzora’s surrogate and treacherous outfit to Zanu-PF. Mwonzora’s outfit is essentially Zanu PF and one wonders what the defection hype was all about. You don’t defect from Zanu-PF to Zanu-PF. Not so much of a defection there— in the same way that any shift from the lounge to the bedroom of the same house should never be misconstrued as a relocation!

Indeed, even the defections are tribalistic and nepotistic, further betraying the primitive and base instincts of the man who pilfered his way to State House.

The youth of this country must rise to the challenge. They must confront this dictatorship within the confines permissible under our national Constitution. As they say, the real problem in troubled countries such as ours has never been civil disobedience. T

he real problem that needs tackling has been civil obedience to autocracy, nay the acquiescence to the murderous traits of this piranha, blood-soaked political elite that has murdered and repressed citizens since November 2017. Civil disobedience through a loud, deafening expression of revulsion channeled through peaceful protests is certainly permissible under section 59 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution.

It is not the aim of this treatise to be contemptuous of the effort and gallantry of today’s youth. This is an exhortation for them to do far much more. The youth of this country have bravely borne the brunt of this blood-soaked regime.

Tawanda Muchehiwa, Obey Sithole, Gift Ostallos Siziba, Takudzwa Ngadziore, Stephen “Sarkozy” Tshuma, Makomborero Haruzivishe, Allan Moyo, the MDC Alliance trio of Joannah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova and several other youths throughout the country have been in the eye of the storm.

But we must certainly go beyond the puny effort of isolated individuals. It must be a monumental seismic shift spawned by an entire generation. The situation in Zimbabwe now demands a peaceful but sonorous expression by an entire demographic group.

As a generation and not as scattered individuals, the youth of this country must rise to the level of—and even surpass the magnitude of—the grievous national challenges authored by the voluminous mediocrity and illegitimacy now engulfing the entire country.

The youth of this country must not listen to a lying regime that peddles the mistruth that it values the next generation and yet saddles that same generation with huge debts. In the case of Zimbabwe, the regime will bequeath to the next generation a ballooning but astounding external debt that currently stands in excess of US$11 billion.

An analogue regime of geriatrics will never understand the demands of the twitter and blog generation. They are too old to address the concerns of a generation still favoured with boundless energy and enthusiasm. A generation whose veins are copiously throbbing restless blood ( kutemwa dzinobva ropa ) Zanu PF has always operated outside the orbit of this generation of boundless energy and hope.

Towards the election of 2013, I joked with President Tsvangirai, then the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, when I intimated to him that had he been in Zanu PF, he would have been a member of the party’s youth league. I said this because when Morgan Tsvangirai contested the 2013 ejection as a 61-year old leader of his party, his age-mate, Absolom Sikhosana, was the leader of the Zanu-PF youth league and represented the digital generation’s interests in the party’s Politburo. A dinosaural party with such proclivities is certainly caught up in a time warp and can never understand the demands of today’s generation.

Indeed, and as the illustrious Morgan Tsvangirai used to say: Yesterday’s people cannot solve today’s problems. Today’s problems need today’s people and Zanu PF and its leaders are certainly yesterday’s people who can never muster enough knowledge to steer and manage modern economies.

Two weeks ago, the people’s President, Advocate Nelson Chamisa, himself a doyen of today’s crop of dynamic leaders, presented his party’s agenda for the year 2021 and set the tone for the major political business of this year. It was an address that spawned trepidation across the corridors of stolen power and invited all sorts of invective— including even laughable threats of arrest.

In that address, the people’s President said in the year 2021, all citizens will be converging for change. He spoke of a broad front to tackle the challenges of our time. He spoke of a robust peaceful, Constitutional and legitimate programme in which the youth will play a decisive part.

We will be there on the front with them. The people’s President said the youth have an important role to play in the Citizens’ Convergence for Change programme. President Chamisa even made reference to the late Father Zimbabwe, the iconic Joshua Nkomo’s speech in which the liberation stalwart said the youth will ultimately save Zimbabwe and will not allow it to die.

We have now reached the penultimate stage where, if need be, it must be us and not the country that must die.

After all, it is the youth that have become seriously prejudiced by the ineptitude of this our scarfed regime. It is the youth that have turned to addictive substances to seek an “escape” from their tenuous lived circumstance.

We have become a country of degreed vendors and graduate small-time traders. In return, the corrupt elite in government are nowhere to be seen when it comes to addressing the concerns and grievances of this victim generation, turning up only to shed crocodile tears when popular youths die as as they did at the funerals of dancehall musician Soul Jah Love and actress Anne Nhira. The purpose is always to score cheap political points.

For God’s sake, the youth of this country want State-assisted opportunities in their lifetime, not State-assisted funerals!

Indeed, ours has become mortuary government—a wicked funeral home that turns up to shed crocodile tears at the funerals of its victims. The regime has presided over the collapse of basic social services such as health and education.

Soul Jah Love needed a functioning health institution to attend to his diabetic condition when he was still alive while Anne Nhira had fled to South Africa to fend for opportunities in a foreign land. It is telling that she was murdered while coming from a prayer in the mountain in South Africa, seeking divine intervention in her parlous circumstances.

And this piece is not meant to incite anyone. It is simply a proposition to give insight. In any case, it is not criminal to incite a repressed people to exercise their democratic right by seeking succour and sanatorium in section 59 of a people’s Constitution that they wrote themselves and affirmed in a referendum.

It does not help that sometimes the youth have collectively become lily-livered when it comes to confronting this regime, choosing only to turn up in their huge numbers and siege Harare central business district to mourn and view the coffin of my distant relative, Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure, my dear brother from my hood in Domboshava while dismally failing to crowd the cities in similar fashion to vent out their grievances against the scarfed regime of Mr Mnangagwa—a regime that has dismally failed their generation. A government that has made them hewers of wood and drawers of water both in their own motherland and in foreign lands where they are slugging it out to earn a living.

As a generation, the youth of this country must rise. Collectively, the despondent youths of my land must soar to the magnitude of the challenges impeding and blighting them from inheriting a bright future.

The responsibility to defend the future must lie in those that are genuine stockholders in that future—the youth of this land.

It is none but themselves!

Luke Tamborinyoka is the Deputy Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa. He can be contacted on his Facebook page or on the twitter handle @ luke_tambo

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