Sunday, 29 January 2017

"Zimbabweans are cowards," says Thomas Mapfumo - are paying with human lives for it. By W Mukori

"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!


  1. Zimbabweans did not take the task of making independence work for all with the seriousness the matter demands and you are right, we have "paid dearly in looted treasure and lost human lives". After 37 years of this corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship and with the country on its knees in the gutter one would think the suffering and deaths have drummed the message home in every Zimbabweans' head. Sadly, that is not the case!

    Zimbabweans continue to follow corrupt and incompetent leaders like Tsvangirai and Mujuru, even now with a truck load of evidence of their failures, is proof that this nation is not yet ready for democratic rule. Whether or not we will ever be ready for democratic rule is another matter. What is certain at present is that we are not ready.

    Many people risked life and limp in the fight to end white colonial oppression, thousands died in the struggle and hundreds of thousands suffered serious injuries. It is a sobering thought that all these people's sacrifice was for nothing! If doom is the destiny of this country then it was not worth the life of even one Zimbabwean!

  2. Opposition parties and their supporters have failed to get Zanu PF to implement any democratic reforms since the July 2013 rigged elections. Instead of accepting the futility of contesting another election without reforms they are focusing on forming opposition coalition as if that is enough to counter if not stop vote rigging completely.

    In the Bikita West by-elections last week, Zanu PF threatened the voters and then frog marched them to vote for the Zanu PF candidate. All the civic organisation observers ruled the election was not free and fair days before voting started because they had already seen and heard enough to make the judgement call. Zanu PF candidate garnered 78% of the votes, it is academic whether there was one or more opposition candidates to share the remaining 22%; Zanu PF will still have won!

    The same people proffering opposition as the answer to the vote rigging problem will be the ones claiming that the vote was rigged, as if they did not know this will happen! Our problem is we have some of the most dishonest and unprincipled leaders on earth!

    We have not implemented the reforms to stop vote rigging and that is the single most important factor in the 2018 elections and not whether or not there is an opposition coalition!

  3. @ Manheru

    Only a sick man would consider an election were the voters are threatened and herded to the polling stations like cattle a victory!
    The tragedy of Zimbabwe is that we have a host of some of the most corrupt and incompetent opposition parties who will continue to give credibility to a flawed electoral process by their participating just for the off chance of winning the odd seat Zanu PF throws away. People like Joice Mujuru and Morgan Tsvangirai will never understand that they are selling out the nation for their own selfish and dubious gain!

  4. “MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora has banned the selection of candidates who will represent the country’s biggest opposition party in next year’s general election amid reports that the process had reached fever pitch in most parts of the country.”

    MDC-T resolved that the party will not contest any future elections until reforms are implemented; there was no debate to reverse this decision and yet there is a mad scramble to be selected candidate. Many of these individuals would have contested as independent is the party was to maintain its position to boycott the elections – such is the desperate desire to win a seat on Zimbabwe’s political gravy train!

    The party took part in the 2013 elections with no reforms because it could not resist the few seats Zanu PF always throw away during national elections as Senator Coltart admitted in his book.

    “The worst aspect for me about the failure to agree a coalition was that both MDCs couldn’t now do the obvious – withdraw from the elections,” explained Senator Coltart.

    “The electoral process was so flawed, so illegal, that the only logical step was to withdraw, which would compel SADC to hold Zanu PF to account. But such was the distrust between the MDC-T and MDC-N that neither could withdraw for fear that the other would remain in the elections, winning seats and giving the process credibility.”

    MDC members have all decided to contest the 2018 elections for exactly the same reason as in 2013 – greed! Boycotting the elections is the only sure way of forcing Zanu PF to accept meaningful democratic reforms, that is obvious now as it was to Senate Coltart and SADC leaders in 2013. MDC leaders were forced to open their eyes and see the need to boycott elections after the rigged July 2013 elections but the passage of time and greed have made them blind to the obvious again!

    What is now clear is that as long as there is the off chance of winning a few lousy seats Zanu PF throws away there will be opposition candidates who will contest elections no matter how flawed and undemocratic the process happens to be. Short of repeating the wanton violence of 2008, we will never ever have free, fair and credible elections!

  5. @ Frank Talk

    “They said participating in any election under the "current electoral regime would be tantamount to legitimizing ZANUPF's fraudulent processes", Tsvangirai's words,” you said.


    What the people of Zimbabwe must now realise is there will be no democratic changes as long as we have an opposition that cannot keep their eyes on the bigger picture, the need for democratic reforms to ensure free, fair and credible elections, and get side lined by the distraction of few gravy train seats Zanu PF puts out as bait! The obvious impediment to democratic change is the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF but immediate impediment is the country’s corrupt and incompetent opposition politicians.

    In the last 10 years all our efforts to bring about meaningful democratic change have been thwarted not by Zanu PF but by the opposition. If we want free, fair and credible elections then we must rein/manage the opposition leaders’ corruption, incompetence and, most important of all, their shameless and myopic greed – an impossible task.

    Former USA ambassador to Zimbabwe, Chris Dell said, in a leaked Wikileak cable, Tsvangirai is "a flawed figure, not readily open to advice, indecisive and with questionable judgment". Time has proven the ambassador was right.

    We know that whilst they were in office both Tsvangirai, as Prime Minister, and Mujuru, as Minister and VP, they were even less amenable to receiving advice from other world leaders much less from anyone else of lower rank than themselves.