via The future begins now | The Zimbabwean by Vince Musewe
The mental abuse that we Zimbabweans experienced, first through colonialism and now through our politics, has conditioned us to accept abuse.
The reason Zimbabwe is where it is now is because we have put our politicians on a pedestal and they have become too central in our lives. We have given them the power to determine almost everything that affects us. As a result, we have limited ourselves as a people. We stroke their despicable egos in every sense – and any human whose ego is needlessly inflated, will tend to be abusive towards others.
I must dwell on these things because I am of the opinion that we must first psychologically diminish the power that we have given to others in order to empower ourselves. We must stop complaining about our circumstances and take our power back before we can even think of creating a modern democracy.
That is why an elected President can threaten to punish those in Harare and in Bulawayo because they did not vote for him and it is acceptable. This is clearly against the constitution, which he swore to adhere to not so long ago. This led me to think about whether we really need central government at all. Imagine, for example, if we decided to run Harare without central government interference? That could be the best thing that ever happened!
Many readers continue to ask me what we must do now. My advice to them is very clear; refuse to accept abuse – first in your mind. Remove that throne you have created within you for anyone in your life that abuses or does not respect who you are. Take back your personal power so that you may become who you truly are. Once you do that, you will be amazed at who you can become. The limits we have are imagined and we must break those limits first, in order to change our circumstances.
You see, these things start in our homes. I continue to see people who are in abusive relationships who are not happy and are not living to their full potential, but still stay in these relationships. They have mentally accepted to be treated just as our politicians and even our police continue to treat us: with no respect and with no dignity. Our children also face the same issues, especially the girl child. This culture of abuse is found in homes, at work, in business, at hospitals, at the passport office, at schools and in all places where we interact with each other. We have become so used to abuse that if we don’t get it we feel that something is missing. That is wrong.
In my opinion, you cannot have democracy in a home where you are abused and therefore, you will never have democracy in a society or country where people are generally abused as is the case in Zimbabwe.
These are the reasons that we rejected colonialism and racial discrimination in the first place. Our history of colonialism is still within us and we seem to have learnt it well – where those with position almost have a right to abuse or mistreat those under them. You just have to talk to some maids and hear how their black madams treat them. Talk to lodgers and see how their landlords treat them. Talk to workers and see how their managers mistreat them. See how young males treat their girlfriends who accept violence and then say it is because of love. What rubbish.
Unfortunately these habits have permeated all our public and private institutions and become our “normal” way of life. Our leaders use this against us to strengthen their hold on power. This mental abuse has conditioned us to accept the myth that we are indeed second class citizens, whose only use is to deliver the vote.
We must be intelligent and eradicate this abuse. We must change how we think as a society. This, of course, will take generations and a concerted effort by each and every one of us, to ensure that we are proud enough, strong enough and fearless enough to claim our space. We must imagine a different Zimbabwe first before it can come to pass. As within, so without.
I challenge you my readers today, to look deep within you and begin to remove in your mind and imagination those things that are preventing us from creating what we desire in Zimbabwe. It is not about what the politicians may say or do, it is about the power we have given them, in our minds. Once we realise that, nobody can ever threaten us to vote for them in the future because we will simply reject that. We are the captains of our destiny. Asijiki.
- Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare; you may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org