Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: The Audacity of Hope …… on the eve of D-day
Tomorrow, Zimbabwe holds a crucial election that carries so much promise and hope across the sectors. For the country’s teachers, nurses, our uniformed forces, the intelligence services, housewives, informal traders, school children, traditional leaders,villagers, farmers, businesspersons and ordinary citizens, tomorrow is a landmark day that will showcase the audacity of hope.
As a nation, we have waited too long for our hour in the sun.
Our hope that has endured over the years will tomorrow see the realisation of our collective whims and aspirations as a people.
Tomorrow, we all go the polls armed with so much hope that this is the day we have all been waiting for; the day in which our votes will usher in a fresh leadership that will truly get our country working again.
My title for this week’s re-worked piece is borrowed from Barack Obama’s 2007 book published by Canongate Books The title speaks to a people’s avowed faith that all shall be well; that a day shall come when their aspirations, the toil of their endeavour and the sweat of their labour, shall all yield a positive change in their lived circumstance.
And for us as Zimbabweans, that day comes tomorrow.
The audacity of hope is an aphorism that I feel encapsulates the mindset of every Zimbabwean as they walk to the polling station tomorrow; the faith that the dangling scarf shall throttle and choke the wicked intentions of its owner and that those that have repressed the people over the years will tomorrow be washed away by the torrents of history.
The audacity of hope denotes the unstinting faith that tomorrow can only be a better day and that a people’s desires and aspirations shall bear fruit well within their lifetime.
For Obama, the audacity of hope is a phrase he says he borrowed from his pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr, who used it as a title for a sermon. Obama, who was to use the same forceful dictum as a title for his book, had also used the same powerful phrase as the main theme for his speech when he delivered the keynote address as a then relatively unknown politician at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Boston in 2004.
The conventions of the Democratic Party are grand occasions of grandeur, passion and people power. They are inspiring fiestas for avowed social democrats.
I personally came face to face with the lively, exuberant spirit of the DNCs when I accompanied Dr Morgan Tsvangirai, then Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, to the DNC in North Carolina in the United States in September 2012.
I was humbled by the citizen-centric thrust of the occasion and the optic showcase of people power.
We missed our plane back home, having been delayed and held rapt by the wonderful sight of a determined people’s unstinting faith that their chosen politics can make meaningful, positive change in their lives.
For Obama, the audacity of hope is a phrase that he says best defines the American spirit; the audacity to believe, despite evidence to the contrary, that hope still held even for a people and a nation torn by conflict, repression and hate.
Indeed, fellow Zimbabweans, hope is audacious. Hope keeps a people astride their aspirations, in the optimism that what they desire shall be fulfilled one day.
At a personal level, I believe hope charms and soothes the heart. Hope is a sweet chariot that ferries despondent souls from the hopelessness of their lived moment to the comfort of their fancied destination.
And for us as Zimbabweans, tomorrow on the 23rd of August, we arrive at our collectively fancied destination.
Hope has kept us alive all these years. For it is only the power of unfettered hope that can assuage weeping souls, just as a mother’s lullaby calms the crying baby on her sweaty back.
My sister born after me was named Edina Tariro. My cousin Bothwell equally named his eldest daughter Tariro. And Tariro, the Shona word for hope, is a popular name in our communities, just as its Ndebele equivalent Themba is also a common name in Ndebele-speaking communities.
Tariro sums up a stubborn and arrogant faith in a better future, which future we begin tomorrow as a nation.
The name Tariro denotes a yearning spirit for a better life–an unstinting faith that all shall be well and that as a people, as individuals, as communities and as families, we shall one day live our collective fantasy, nay our collective dream.
Here in Zimbabwe, it is the audacity of hope that has carried our spirit, that has exhorted us to carry on with the struggle — the sheer gall and stoic belief that our effort and toil for a better country will definitely not be in vain.
And tomorrow, it is our fervent hope that we begin a new prosperous life under a prudent national leadership.
We know—and we are certain—that tomorrow we break free from the leash tying our collective fate to the incompetent hand of this wicked, clueless and murderous lot in government.
They have arrested us, brutalised us and stripped us of our collective dignity over the years.
We are finishing it all tomorrow..
Every generation must leave the country a better place than they found it. Only then can that generation boldly stare history in the face and say their stint on this earth was worthwhile and well-deserved.
Through the audacity of our collective hope, we are ending it all tomorrow.
A hoping nation ahead of a crucial day
Without a job, with no safety nets in the wake of a ravaging economic crisis and struggling to feed his eight children, John Tembo in Mvuma goes to the polling station tomorrow with the certain hope that his vote will yield a new government that will change his tenous circumstances.
The teachers at Tsatse School, at Cheza, Makumbe Mission, Munyawiri, Pote, Zimbiru and Nyamande schools in my rural hood of Domboshava, just like other teachers in the area and across the country, are all trooping to their various polling stations to vote for the positive transformation of their lives.
.Their employer, the outgoing ZANU PF government, lied to them. Apart from their dismal working conditions, their employer promised to pay fees for three of their children but simply did not deliver on that promise.
Tomorrow, they will have all those false promises in mind when they cast their votes in the various polling stations across the country.
The change the citizens will seek with their vote tomorrow does not have to be piecemeal. It has to be wholesome, holistic and national.
Esther Chihwa and Smart Taundi of Harare, Thabiso Nleya of Plumtree and Craig Sithole of Chipinge will wake up early tomorrow for the vote of their lives. Their audacious hope will make them end their suffering through their crucial vote tomorrow.
This time around, the citizens of this country are determined to decisively win Zimbabwe for change.
Tomorrow, the citizens of Zimbabwe will sweat it out in the voting queues across this savannah-land in the audacious hope and knowledge that their chosen fresh set of councillors, MPs and President will get Zimbabwe working again.
This time around, the audacity of the people’s hope will not be in vain. They have done it before, in 2008, only it was a half measure.
In by-elections held in March 2022, the citizens delivered a cardinal lesson to Zanu PF and its surrogates that only the people are sovereign; that leaders come from the people and that no one can recall the people’s unfettered choice except the people themselves!
Tomorrow, the citizens are itching once again to send out yet another sonorous message of who their true leaders are.
And tomorrow is the day; the landmark day on which the citizens of this great country will snugly embrace their hope.
Today, on the eve of the home-stretch in the next 24 hours, the citizens of this country are hoping and waiting for their hour in the sun. They are itching to teach Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF party an electoral lesson they will never forget.
The people of Chilonga too are caught up in the throes of hope ahead of tomorrow’s watershed poll. They too are hoping that for once, their worth and value will be seen as greater and taller than that of lucerne grass.
Tomorrow, they will vote to actualise their hope that a truly national leadership that respects people takes over the running of the country, a leadership that understands that their worth is taller than lucerne grass.
When you have a President and a government that believes that people should be evicted from their ancestral land so that the President’s friend can grow grass for his dairy cows, a people can only hope that sanity and decency return to the corridors of government.
And tomorrow, they will overwhelmingly vote for change.
It is pertinent to note that since 2000, Zanu PF has peddled the propaganda mantra that the opposition are puppets who front the interests of white capital.
Now that the people of Chilonga, the indigenous people of this land, were evicted so that Mnangagwa’s white friend could grow grass for his cattle, it is now clear who the real puppets are!
The question of who is playing puppetry politics in this country has now been sufficiently settled!
Tomorrow is a decisive day.
The unemployed people of this country, the despondent citizenry in the villages, in the urban areas and in the mining towns will tomorrow troop to vote and to express their outrage in the polling station.
And tomorrow, they will do so in their huge numbers.
You don’t steal a people’s source of livelihood, a people’s future, a people’s land and birthright then go further to pilfer their party, the party name and recall their elected representatives, grab their party headquarters and the money due to them and still hope things will be normal.
No, the people will certainly come for you! And they will decisively do so tomorrow.
Hope is audacious. Even negative hope exists too. And negative hope is equally audacious.
Negative hope is the hope that you can repress a people forever and they will do nothing about it. It is that hope when you lie to yourself that you will be able to vanquish a people’s party and a people’s leadership and recreate a similar entity under the leadership of stooges and surrogates.
The negative hope that the criminal lot in government will deliver and change the country’s fortunes, including a Willowgare criminal called Frederick Shava who was brought into government to become the international face of this equally criminal regime.
Criminals can only run government in a kleptocracy—a government of thieves. And Zimbabwe does not deserve to be a kleptocracy.
We end it all tomorrow.
While negative hope is audacious, history has shown that in the end, it is only well-meaning hope that endures and that will ultimately prevail, as it will certainly do tomorrow!
An election, such as the crucial one staring at us tomorrow, is the time when we must freely enjoy and exercise our basic freedoms of choice, speech, movement and association.
An election is the only platform where we are allowed to exercise our right to regime change, even though in 2017, Mnangagwa taught us other avenues through which to do it. In any case, Mnangagwa did not change the regime in 2017. He only sharpened it and made it darker , more wicked and more insidious.
In the decisive harmonised poll tomorrow, our society will grab the chance to express its full revulsion at this despicable lot in government that is mismanaging our affairs, arresting, brutalising and killing people and dimming their collective hope.
Hope is audacious.
But hope alone is not enough. Hope alone— unaccompanied by decisive action, is trite, vacuous and grossly inadequate in solving the key questions of the day.
A people must act to push through the fulfillment of their hopes and aspirations You don’t just hope to become a medical doctor and then believe that your hope is enough to make you one; without going to school, without attending medical school and without taking the requisite practical steps to actualise your hope.
Even little David did not just hope for the giant Goliath to disappear from his face. He acted to bring his hope to fruition. He took a stone, put it on his sling and practically acted against the gargantuan human edifice that arrogantly and daringly stood before him.
In the 1970s, our brothers and sisters did not just hope for Rhodesian repression to desert their desolate lives. They acted on their convictions, took up arms and waged a liberation struggle.
Times have changed. I am not saying we must take up arms. This time we will use the ballot and not the bullet.The point is that a repressed people must go beyond hoping and take practical action to change their situation to actualise their hope.
It is simply not enough to hope Tomorrow, we will collectively act to actualise our hope. Tomorrow, we will flood the country’s polling stations to bring down the walls of Babylon.
Sometimes history needs a push, a helping hand. And the time has come for the citizens to give history a huge push. Indeed, the time has come to nudge history by voting decisively and in our huge numbers so as to drastically transform our tenuous lived circumstances.
Hope is audacious but the people themselves are certainly more audacious than their hope.
Tomorrow we will vote big, win big and defend our victory in a big way..
Welcome to 23 August 2023, the D-day on which a repressed people’s hope will showcase its audacity in a huge, seismic way.
Welcome to a New Great Zimbabwe for everyone and goodbye to the ancien’ regime. As the Gafa Winky D says in his powerful lyrics:
” Ijipita Ijipita , bye-bye ndakukanda nhanho , Canaan tapinda tapinda .”
Oh yes! Freedom is coming tomorrow!
Luke Tamborinyoka , a citizen from Domboshava, is a journalist and ardent political scientist by profession. He is also a change champion in the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC ). You can interact with him via his Facebook page or on the X handle @ luke_tambo.