"I tend to agree with Malema. I think he gave a perfect description of us Zimbabweans, that we are a bunch of cowards. Cowards are not only in Zanu-PF, but the majority of us. Malema spoke the truth. Everyday Mugabe and his cronies are looting and yet no one is challenging that," said Thomas Mapfumo.
This is a very important point and one Zimbabweans must confront head-on if this nation is ever going to get out of the political paralysis and economic mess Zanu PF has landed us.
When the country attained her independence in April 1980 the challenge for us all was to make independence work for us all and not just the few ruling elite. 37 years later there can be no denying that we have failed dismally on that score. Zimbabwe has some of the best agricultural land in the world, it is the Garden of Eden for all intent and purpose; and, before independence, we were the bread basket of the region. Today the country cannot feed its own people let alone have surplus for export.
In the day and age when other nations technology and ingenuity to turned deserts in a sea of green with crops and orchards stretching to horizon in all directions. We in Zimbabwe a starving in the Garden of Eden because of the insatiable greed of a few who have seized the very productive land from the white farmers but only to “sit” on the land!
“Munda hauzvirimi!” (It takes hard work, not envy, to make the land productive!) My late mother used to say, looking at the dramatic drop in agricultural productivity after Mugabe and his cronies took over the farms in 2000.
On the political front, Mugabe set out to establish a de facto one-party state from the day he became Prime Minister in 1980. He used the Gukurahundi massacre, under the pretext of quashing the dissident threat, to destroy PF Zapu, the biggest obstacle to his one-party state project. PF Zapu leaders capitulated and signed the 1987 unity accord and were swallowed up by Zanu PF to form the de facto one party state.
The people of Zimbabwe watched Mugabe commit mass murder to create his Zanu PF dictatorship; we did not lift a finger or voice to stop him, out of foolishness and cowardice as Mapfumo has rightly pointed out. Most people accepted how the regime systematically eroded their freedoms and human rights including freedom of expression, the right to a meaningful vote and even the right to life itself. These freedoms and rights did not matter, the people thought, as long as the regime kept its promised to deliver mass prosperity, “gutsa ruzhinji!”
It was only in the late 1990s when it was abundantly clear that Zanu PF was delivering mass poverty; as the standard of living, on decline soon after independence, showed; that the people started clamouring for democratic change. They wanted to reclaim their freedoms and rights, especially the right to free, fair and credible elections – the only democratic way to end the de facto one party state.
Whilst it is true that by the late 1990s the Zanu PF dictatorship was deeply entrenched and so ending it was not going to be easy; nonetheless, the nation did have a number of opportunities to end the dictatorship. The best opportunity by a long mile was during the GNU when all Tsvangirai and his MDC friends had to do was implement the democratic reforms. They had five years to do so but failed to get even one reform implemented. Not one.
There was no excuse why MDC failed to implement even one reform other than that the leaders are corrupt and incompetent. Of course, Tsvangirai and company “sold-out” as Thomas Mapfumo once said.
“Tsvangirai is useless. He won in the 2008 elections but later joined the government of national unity taking over the prime minister's position. That shows how selfish he is. What kind of leader is that? Why doesn't he step down and give a young leader a chance so that he can rest because I heard he is not well? He is like Mugabe who is holding on to power," said Mapfumo, adding meat to the bone.
The failure by many Zimbabweans to see, even now with the benefit of hindsight, Tsvangirai and his MDC friends as the corrupt and incompetent individuals they are is at the heart of our failure to end the Zanu PF dictatorship. By participating in the 2013 elections when no reforms had been implemented, against the advice of SADC leaders, MDC granted the flawed elections the modicum of democratic legitimacy.
People thought the penny had finally drop in the MDC leaders’ empty heads when the party announced they will not take part in any future elections until reform are implemented first. Tsvangirai et al have since said they will contest the 2018 elections. So, the 2014 “No reform, no election!” MDC party congress resolutions was made on the whim and thus is being discarded on the whim too!
Zanu PF has learnt that as long as it allows the opposition to win a few seats, people like Tsvangirai, Mujuru and the rest of our equally corrupt and incompetent opposition leaders will participate in the national elections regardless how flawed and undemocratic the electoral process happen to be. The people’s hopes of having free, fair and credible elections and thus end the Zanu PF dictatorship will remain a mirage.
MDC leaders assured the nation the 2013 elections will be free and fair and MDC will win; that was all lies, not with Zanu PF free to rig the vote. Not even one reforms has been implemented and yet Tsvangirai and his friends are once again assuring the nation the opposition will win the 2018 elections. Unless the people of Zimbabwe do something to ensure the next elections are free and fair, we will wake up to the reality of another rigged elections in 2018!
People get the government they deserve, after 37 years we cannot say we, through our cowardice, ignorance, fear, etc., deserve this corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship complete with its entourage of corrupt and incompetent opposition parties! If we are serious about ending the dictatorship and replacing it with a competent and accountable democratic government; we will have acknowledge and deal with our cowardice, etc.
"Cowards die many times before their deaths, The valiant never taste of death but once," said Julius Caesar.
We have certainly paid dearly in looted treasure and lost human lives for our collective cowardice. Zanu PF has murdered over 30 000 innocent Zimbabweans to establish and retain its de facto dictatorship plus the hundreds of thousands of who have died each year of poverty induced deaths. Life expectancy have plummeted from 68 years in 1980 to 34 years in 2004!
If we want to end the corruption and the economic meltdown that has forced millions of Zimbabweans into a life of abject poverty and despair, we must get off our backsides and initiate the change. No one else but ourselves will bring about the democratic changes the nation is dying for.
Zimbabwe is an independent country, we are masters of our own destiny be it glory or doom!