2022 should be the year of the people’s power in Zimbabwe! 

Knowledge is power – so the adage goes!

Source: 2022 should be the year of the people’s power in Zimbabwe! – The Zimbabwean

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

Indeed, he who holds knowledge wields tremendous power.

It is good to accumulate knowledge on such things as mathematics, engineering, medicine, law, physics, chemistry, history, and such subjects.

However, arguably the greatest knowledge one can ever gain is the understanding of how his day to day life is governed, and what role he plays in determining one’s own fate.

That is the greatest power!

There is nothing more tragic than a person who is merely a lame passenger in one’s own life, and a passive spectator as one’s life is written at the hands of other people – whom he would have foolishly given all authority.

Basically, giving away “power of attorney” over one’s life to others!

That is powerlessness, and slavery – like the biblical Esau who sold his birthright to his brother Jacob!

Boy, did he live to regret that decision – as he effectively lost nearly everything!

Yet, is that not what the people of Zimbabwe are doing?

Have we not sold our birthright, and effectively awarded our lives’ “power of attorney” to those whom we elect into office – seemingly oblivious to the detrimental repercussions of such a foolhardy and ill-advised move?

As we draw closer to the envisioned 2022 by-elections, and 2023 harmonized elections – the adamant push for people to go and vote, portrayed as some magical elixir for the immense and indescribable suffering and pain that we have endured over the years, is most regrettable.

Indeed, I am not at all trying to trivialize or even dismiss the critical part elections play in choosing our leaders, and shaping our future as a nation – but, the problem comes when we appear to overestimate the impact of such an undeniably important democratic process.

That is where knowledge of political dynamics comes in – whose understanding determines whether we choose to wield unlimited and unconstrained power over our own lives, or we willfully and tragically surrender that power to others.

As long as Zimbabweans continue to live in “La-La Land” – in which they erroneously imagine that there are people on this planet who genuine love and care for them, such that they entered the field of politics purely to improve ordinary citizens’ wellbeing and livelihoods – then, we are a sadder lot than I ever thought.

No one enters active politics because they have been touched by the suffering and impoverishment of the people – but, are enticed by the seductive attractiveness of power, and all the other associated trappings as wealth and status.

Surely, are there people out there who seriously believe that all those politicians fighting for office – mostly through purely underhand deceptive means, even using brutal, violent, and murderous tactics – are motivated by the love to serve us?

If they are there – then, the word “worrisome” does nothing to describe this clearly misguided thinking.

Politicians – no matter which political party they represent, or how sincere and loving they may sound and present themselves – are in it for only one reason… themselves.

The central need for elections can never, and should never, be demeaned – exercised through regular, free, fair, and credible polls – nonetheless, that has never, and will never, resolve our challenges as a nation.

Even in those countries that tout themselves as “democratic” – such as the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), and other predominantly Western nations – their citizens appreciate one very important thing…they are the ones who hold the power, and need to keep their leaders in check, constantly holding them accountable, never fearing to stand up, and speak out for themselves.

No wonder they are always loud and vocal in demanding their rights, and ensuring that their leaders are always responsive to their needs – exercised through frequent peaceful demonstrations, strikes, petitions, and all other methods of expressing themselves.

They never sit on their laurels, foolishly expecting their chosen political leaders to be nice little saints – who will fulfil their elections promises, and improve the citizenry’s livelihoods on their own volition.

Surely, if you employ someone to carry out a particular task – no matter how qualified and competent they may be – would you leave them unsupervised, and without ensuring that they are doing exactly what you mandated them to do, and correcting them should they be “sleeping on the job”?

So, why do we (especially in Zimbabwe) appear to place so much blind hope and trust in our political leaders – that they will somehow uplift our lives, and improve our livelihoods – whilst, we sit back and go about our business, without holdings them to account?

It does not matter whether the people in office are our chosen and loved ones, or our sworn enemies – but, the basic tenets of democracy (and indeed, common sense) dictate that we should always constantly hold them answerable for their every deed and decision.

Just because you hold your own employee – or, your employer regularly takes you to task for poorly done work – does not automatically mean that you are enemies!

That is just how the world works if you genuinely desire to see real progress.

The same logic applies to the running of our country’s affairs – as long as we do not stand up, and speak up, for ourselves, we should not expect anything to significantly improve in Zimbabwe.

We now need Zimbabweans who understand this fact – thereby, refusing to be divided by those who have their own political ambitions and objectives.

We need to know that we are all in the same boat.

Our suffering and impoverishment is the same – and, does not discriminate on political party grounds.

Therefore, we need to view the exercising of our rights to expression, demonstration, striking, petitioning (and, all others enshrined in our Constitution) as the real panacea to the ills we face as a country.

Placing pressure on our chosen leaders should not necessarily be a “regime change” matter – but, simply a people that understand the power they wield in shaping their own lives’ destinies.

Let us stop being mere passengers in our lives’ journeys – or, being powerless spectators in our lives’ stories.

The real power of democracy is in a people who take charge of their own lives by standing up, and speaking out for themselves.

Let us take back our birthright – which we had sold, like hungry Esau, to our political leaders.

Let 2022 be the year of the people’s power!

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com

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