Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Street protest are an important first step but first of many even tougher steps to follow. By Wilbert Mukori

Zimbabweans must not allowed themselves to be misled by those who see the street protests as all the nation needed to do to end Mugabe’s reign of terror and have, in its place, economic prosperity and political stability. Patrick Kuwana wrote one such misleading article “Zimbabwe’s tipping point – Here’s why it can turn around quickly” in the Zimbabwe Independent and in Zimbabwe Situation. His was an academic case study that was so far divorced from the reality of the Zimbabwe situation it was supposed to fit one can only compare it expecting a doll’s dress to fit an adult.
“‘Change seldom occurs until the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change.’ There is a point where this statement proves to be true especially when a nation drops from being the ‘breadbasket to the begging bowl of Africa’ within a single generation,” he started off.
Started off on the wrong foot, for a start! The on-going street protests are not the first time the people of Zimbabwe have staged a revolt; the war of independence was a revolution in its own right. The people’s economic situation then was definitely better than it has ever been since 1980; from the day we attained our independence our national economy has been on stead path of decline. We certainly had our breadbasket status throughout the nation’s fight for independence.
If it was a simple matter of the pain cause by economic meltdown finally becoming unbearable then one has to ask whether Zimbabweans have an unusually high tolerance for pain, way above most other human beings. As Patrick readily admitted Zimbabweans have endured “hyperinflation, lack of access to cash and +80% unemployment”. Most other nationals would have been out on the street demanding regime change long before unemployment reach 10% especially when they knew, as Zimbabwe have known for decades, that the root causes of the country’s economic problems were gross mismanagement and rampant corruption.
Mugabe told the nation on prime time TV that $15 billion was looted (nearly four times the $4 billion government’s annual revenue and happening at a time when the regime was failing to pay civil servant wages much less anything else). The revelation did not even cause a ripple of public disquiet.
President Mugabe and his Foreign Affairs Minister have both attributed the people of Zimbabwe’s apparent indifference to their on suffering and even deaths to their “resilience”, a variation to Patrick’s theory that the people have not demand reform until now because they had not suffered enough. It is all nonsense, the people of Zimbabwe feel the pain as acutely as anyone else out there; they revolted against white colonial oppression and exploitation because they felt the injustice of being denied freedoms and basic humans regardless of the nation’s breadbasket status.
The people have felt the economic hardship and political suffering brought on by Zanu PF’s misrule and the brutal repression just as cutely. They have been very slow in revolting because each time in the past they have done so, reached “the transformative tipping point” as Patrick called it; nothing has changed.
“For the sake of clarity,” explained Patrick, “ it’s worthwhile to define the word transformation – ‘It is a process of profound and radical change that orients an individual, organisation, community, city or nation in a new direction and takes them/it to an entirely different level of effectiveness.’
“Now that Zimbabwe seems to be drawing closer towards this transformational tipping point, it is a good time to look at some of the elements why this has the potential of being a model case for African national recovery and restoration.”
Zimbabwe had a transformative tipping points in 1980 and in 2008 but both failed to deliver the freedom, justice and human rights for the former and not even one democratic change for the latter. This has happened because the people failed to think though what changes the nation needed to carry out to ensure freedom, justice, etc. for all. So whilst Mugabe and Tsvangirai have failed to deliver on what they promised the nation, the people have never hold the two leaders to account because the people did not have a clue what they wanted.
There is a depressing déjà vu feeling about the current street protests; they too will result in no meaningful change because the people still have no clue what they want beyond the standard call for democratic change.
It is not as if the required democratic reforms are complex and thus beyond the comprehension of most people; on the contrary, the reforms are simple and logical. Police reforms, for example, demand the structural reforms to give parliament the power to ask for detailed accounts of Policing matters from senior Police Officers and to demand of the State President to replace all those Officers parliament is not pleased with their performance. Parliament does not have these powers at present.  
“‘Any organisation (or country) can never move beyond the constraints of its leadership’, concluded Patrick. “With the right leadership in place a strong business case can be put forward that will open up the doors of human and financial capital flow to kick start the recovery process. In fact, with the South Africa’s economic growth projections tending towards 0%, Zimbabwe might just end up being the investors new destination of choice.
“Is what we are seeing the start of the greatest national turnaround in Africa?”
The people have not yet grasped the need for democratic reforms designed to dismantle the Zanu PF dictatorship. As long as the Zanu PF dictatorship remains, in one form or another, Zimbabwe’s economy will never really recover let alone be “the greatest national (economic) turnaround in Africa”!
A few people accept that the street protests in themselves are not enough to deliver meaningful change hence the reason they have been asking the question “What next?” A lot more people must ask themselves this and find the answers.
“Totenda maruva tadya chakata!” so goes the Shona saying. (We should believe in the blossoms after eating the fruit.) This is particularly important since street protests is the easy bit, thinking through what the democratic reforms are and then making sure they are all implemented properly are the really tough bits.
If we do not implement the reforms properly then the on-going revolution will too accomplish very little has already happened in 1980 and in 2008.


  1. President Mugabe dismissed the Gukurahundi murders as a "moment of madness" and yet over 20 000 innocent people were murdered in cold blood. The 2008 elections saw over 500 murdered, to him that was nothing, "damn lies!"

  2. @ Kuwana

    How many tipping points is Zimbabwe going to have and then nothing happens!

    "Praise should be given where praise is due. One of the things that the current regime did very well was ensuring that a world class education system was maintained, built upon and expanded to every citizen after 1980. This resulted in Zimbabwe having the highest level of literacy and skills per capita in Africa," you said.

    Where have you been because if you have been on planet earth you would know Zimbabwe's public education system collapsed a long time ago. Teachers are spending more time on strike than in the class-room, if they can get there.

    The only education system still working is private for up to A level then go to a University or College outside the country. Needless to say the majority cannot afford that given the country has 90% out of work and cannot afford one decent meal a day. Locally educated University graduates can read and write their name and very little else after that. What a waste of humanity!

    Zimbabwe is now a country where quantity and no quality rule the roost and complete nincompoops are ministers and CEO whose favourite pass time is to wallow in the country’s mediocrity. What is there to praise in an education system whose students still do not know what a verb is after 11 years at school!

  3. Our friend Patrick clearly has a very selective memory because he cannot remember Zimbabwe's "transformative tipping points" in 1980 and 2008 and so cannot be expected to notice that they did not bring the "greatest turnaround" he expect the present tipping point to bring!

    With such easily excitable people as Patrick, it is going to be a real challenge keeping the nation's mind fixed on the difficult task on implementing the democratic reforms. No wonder it was easy for a tyrant like President Mugabe to hijack the whole revolution to serve his own selfish end; within days of independence the majority had already forgotten there was lots of work still to do, like Patrick they were already in cloud-cuckoo-land!

  4. Tsvangirai has already proven that he is corrupt and incompetent the only relevant question to ask is the sanity of all those who still continue to follow him.

    There is no question that Zimbabwe is in this economic and political mess because our people are very naïve and gullible. There is no question that as long as our people remain naïve and gullible we are not going to get out of this hell-hole. By continuing to follow proven corrupt and incompetent leaders like Tsvangirai, Biti, Ncube, Mujuru, etc. there can be an doubt that many of our people are still naïve and gullible.

    If the mountain of evidence of people like Tsvangirai's breath-taking incompetent has failed to move these people then they are beyond the pale! It would take these people another ten years for them to finally admit Tsvangirai is useless just as it took them 20 years to finally admit President Mugabe is a corrupt and murderous tyrant. But when one is this slow mentally it is almost certain they will get out of one blunder to fall headlong into the next as happened with the rejection of Mugabe to embrace Tsvangirai.

    A nation with an electorate that is so naïve and gullible the people will elect not only someone who is corrupt and incompetent but elect one with a proven track record of being corrupt and incompetent is a nation in serious trouble. Make no mistake; we are in very serious trouble!

  5. “The ongoing shenanigans currently unfolding in Harare are obnoxious and unacceptable. It is self-evident that the securocrats are mobilising coerced, lumpen elements to invade the streets of Harare,” said Biti in a statement

    Biti, Zimbabwe had the golden opportunity to end the Mugabe dictatorship during the GNU when all you and your MDC friends had to do is implement the democratic reforms. You failed to get even one reform implemented because Mugabe bribed you lot with the niceties of gravy train life styles.

    “They want war, this lot. They want chaos, this lot. They want an excuse of re-imposing the state of emer-gency. They have an itch (but) the itch needs to be scratched,” he added

    Yes you are right that Zanu PF is now itching to drag the nation into chaos and violence but you must accept that we would not be in this if MDC had implemented the reforms!

    This country would have been better off if corrupt and incompetent men and women such as you MDC leaders, Mugabe and his murderous thugs and vakadzi vaMugabe had all never been born. Whilst there is clearly nothing anyone could have done to stop you lot being born there is something we can do now to ensure failed leaders like you never get another to sell the nation again.

    MDC leaders should have resigned on-mass after the rigged July 2013 elections, only Arthur Mutambara has done so. Still, none of the other MDC leaders must ever again be allowed to hold public office.

    Mugabe and his Zanu PF thugs and harem must now be flushed out of power; it is them who have chosen this violent end and imposed it on the nation. It is Mugabe and his thugs who in the end must be held to account for all the destruction to property and for every drop of human blood that will be spilt!