via Should we forgive Mugabe? | The Zimbabwean 25 June 2014 by Vince Museve
It was Mark Twain who once remarked that forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
It such a difficult thing to do, to forgive a man who has caused so much pain and suffering to millions – yet remains arrogant and steadfast in his old ways. It is such a difficult undertaking to forgive somebody who has done irreparable damage to our beautiful country – yet remains convinced that only he is right.
But if we do not forgive we will remain shackled and imprisoned by a past we need to forget.
Millions of peace loving, humble, hardworking Zimbabweans all over the world must choose to perform menial tasks – not because they have no skills, or because they do not wish for a better life, but because this man has lived. They are condemned to sub-standard lives. They survive each day without much and continue to hope that the nightmare will soon be over. Millions pray each day and wonder where God is and why we must continue to witness such evil.
Worse are those men who wake up each day to defend the indefensible. Men who wake up to prop up a regime that has decimated so much potential, stolen so much from future generations, destroyed so much value and created a country where none can truly become who they wish to be.
I have spoken to many Zimbabweans in the last two years. Almost all are angry and unhappy at what our country has become. It is difficult not to be angry when you see the grinding poverty around you, when you hear how people are dying from curable diseases, simply because they cannot afford medicines.
Anyone would be angry to see children who should be in school doing nothing. Our youth have become hopeless and their dreams have been shattered. Our old folk are suffering. It is the worst of times and yet our anger will beget us nothing but pain.
Unfortunately the only power we have is to forgive this man. We must look for higher ground so that we avoid being angry and unproductive as we work hard to create the Zimbabwe we want. We must take solace in the reality that nothing lasts forever and one fine day we will forget all this.
But this does not mean that we sit and wait and do nothing. I continue to encourage all Zimbabweans to first change the way they think about themselves. This is the most important thing we can do. We must first reject that we are perpetual underlings.
In order to achieve this we need not be in a group or a political party, but must act in our own individual capacity and also influence those closest to us. Whatever is going on, it is because we have accepted it as normal and this will do nothing to change our circumstances. We must stop this habit of only complaining about our circumstances and resolve to do something about it.
The second thing we must do is to build solidarity within our communities. We have all waited in vain for political parties to unite us but it has turned out that it is not in their interest because they are based on personal power. Our responsibility is to therefore act outside these groupings so that we do not become that which we must fight against.
In my opinion, this solidarity can be built around our basic needs such as clean water, a clean environment, good health and shelter. This requires us to make those who we expect to provide these services accountable and if not, then we must refuse to pay for services that we are not getting and do it ourselves.
Until Zimbabweans get rid of this disease, this curse of paying for services that they are not receiving, we will never be able to free ourselves from abuse. Added to this is the reality that thousands of Zimbabweans continue to go to work, even if they have not been paid for months! Why – because you fear to lose the little you have and yet it is that little that is keeping you under bondage.
Thousands of small companies are going broke because they have not been paid for services rendered especially by politically connected companies and even to government and they do nothing but hope that one day they will be paid. I hear that, for example, a leading diamond company auctioning diamonds in Dubai has not paid its suppliers besides it getting paid. That is unacceptable.
Our challenge is to begin to create a national psychology that rejects abuse. This not only applies to abuse by government officials but even in private business and also in our personal relationships. You cannot expect a woman who is coming from an abusive home to be confident out there, you cannot expect a child from the same home to be confident and defend their rights out there.
The power we have within us is unlimited and can never be determined by any man or woman alive. If only we could accept this and harness this unlimited personal power within us, Zimbabwe would indeed rise.
The problem is not Mugabe, it is us. – Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org