As a little boy, whenever I whined and winged to my father, over how this or that person had wronged me, he always had some sound sage advice – “If everyone around you appears to always wrong you, then, in all likelihood, you are the problem”.
What a wise man my late beloved father was! May his dear soul continue to rest in peace!
From that time onwards, I tried my level best to look myself in the mirror – introspecting my own thoughts, words, deeds, and feelings, with their potential consequences upon others around me – before, rushing into finding those who were supposedly ‘out to get me’.
My father’s profound words always come back into remembrance whenever I encounter those monotonously unimaginative and laughable ‘regime change agent’ accusations by Zimbabwe’s ruling elite – aimed at anyone who boldly stands up, and speaks out, against the government’s unmitigated failures of unprecedented proportions.
Those would be the times I wished my father (an avid writer in his own respect) was still here, so that he could mete out his impressive advice to those in power – “If everyone around you appears to be out to get you, then, in all likelihood, you are the problem”.
Recently, this insincere finger-pointing was extended to labour rights activists – most specifically, teachers organizations, PTUZ (Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe), and ARTUZ (Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe) – whom, the state-controlled media, a few days ago, disingenuously named as being ‘regime change agents’ at the beck and call of the US (United States of America), and UK (United Kingdom).
Well, for starters, let me make one thing abundantly clear – so as to remove any misunderstandings – the concept of ‘regime change’ is not, and had never been, a crime, neither is it wrong.
In fact, ‘regime change’ is what any true democracy is premised on – since the ultimate goal of every opposition party, and anti-government activist, is to effect ‘regime change’.
Yet, in a country like Zimbabwe – which shockingly touts itself as a democracy – this term has been immorally and amorally bastardized to mean something vulgar and despicable.
As a matter of fact, this is a brazen attempt to criminalize democracy!
Be that as it may, what is more disturbing and unsettling is the Zimbabwe regime’s unending and worn-out obsession with this ‘regime change’ narrative – used in an insipid attempt to both defame those genuinely fighting for the rights of Zimbabweans, and as a pretext to justify the continued persecution, and possibly outlawing, of these illustrious intrepid men and women.
In other words, all this vilification of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe is a very simple and old tactic – as old as life on Earth itself – designed to hide the regime’s own state-authored gross ineptitude, violations of ordinary citizens’ dignity, and high-level corruption.
I am sure we have come across this script before.
Let me use an illustration that is in tandem with the ’16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ – which the whole world is presently observing.
Have we not encountered a man who brutally and cruelly abuses his wife and children – and, when the numerous women’s and children’s rights groups heavily descend on him, he misleadingly blames them for unwarranted and invited meddling in his domestic affairs, with the intention of sowing seeds of disharmony and anarchy, with the ultimate aim of wrecking his marriage and home?
Well, would the easiest thing to do in such a situation – in order to permanently ward off these women’s and children’s rights organizations – not be to simply treat one’s spouse and kids with dignity and love?
The same principle perfectly applies to the situation in Zimbabwe.
If the powers-that-be in the country genuinely wanted to get rid of all these ‘pesky’ opposition, labour, social justice, and anti-corruption crusaders – the most effective way would be to simply improve citizens’ standards of life, and restore their dignity.
Honestly, if a teacher was earning a just liveable wage – as my dear father used to receive in the olden days – why would he or she heed calls for strikes, stay-aways, or any other collective job action?
If a nurse was being given a respectable salary, worthy of the profession’s status of life-savers – in the same manner my beloved mother used to get – why would they listen to anyone, ostensibly, seeking to divide the nation, and cause unrest?
In fact, my mother, at some point, was the secretary of the ZISCOSTEEL workers’ committee, but never did they ever engage in industrial action. Why… simply because they were treated very well, during those days agone.
The solution is quite simple – improve Zimbabweans’ lives and livelihoods, and automatically and suddenly, there will no longer be any so-called ‘regime change agents’ to talk about.
@ Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: email@example.com