If ever there is one major lesson I am so grateful to have learnt very early in my life, it was that, politicians, and participating in active political party politics, have absolutely nothing to do with the interests and welfare of ordinary citizens, but merely serve the selfish, self-preserving, and self-aggrandizing narrow agendas of those in power, and those who seek power.
Having been awakened to the cruelty, evil, and deception of politicians from a young age – after witnessing incidents of the cold-hearted and heinous brutalizing of innocent men, women, and children in the early 1980s – my mind was made up…politicians never gave a hoot about the welfare of the ordinary person on the street, but would, in fact, kill them without even skipping a heartbeat, purely as a means either to retain power, or to attain it.
All I knew was that, ‘the people’ became relevant only at election time – solely as a convenient and easily manipulable vehicle for these power-hungry politicians to get into office – after that, ‘the people’ are forgotten, and dumped to the savage and ruthless caprices of life…with the same politicians voted into offices by ‘the people’ seemingly unaware, but actually unconcerned and uncaring.
What was abundantly clear, beyond any reasonable doubt, was that, we – ‘the people’ – were all alone, and we had no other choice except speaking out, and standing up for ourselves – since, relying on politicians to do anything for us (unless, if there was an immediate benefit for the politician), would be the greatest folly and foolishness.
No politician does anything for anyone, for nothing.
That is why, after I began writing social justice articles for local media in 1989 – whilst, in Form Three at Kwekwe High School – I politely, humbly, but straightforwardly turned down several invitations to join political parties of that time, such as the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM), and other smaller parties.
I even clearly remember the local leadership approaching me to be part of their parties – even a very senior leader paid me a surprise visit at the college where I was now studying in Harare, much to my surprise, as I could not figure out how he knew me, and where to find me.
More so, in the most recent years – with the advent of the MDC, and other smaller parties – these proposals took on a new high, coupled with even more enticing promises of exciting positions and privilege, that could have easily placed me within the lofty preserve of the powerful, popular, and wealthy – nevertheless, again, I them turned down.
Was I am absolute idiot? Perhaps.
However, I am someone who believes that, principles take precedence far above expediency.
The welfare of the people of Zimbabwe, and fighting for improvement of their day to day livelihoods, is an unalienable principle that can never be sacrificed on the alter of political power and self-aggrandizement – as that, to me, would be an unforgivable sin.
Again, am I an idiot?
A quick glimpse at the political shenanigans that have been taking place in Zimbabwe over the past three years – although, these have been all too present within our midst for as long as we can remember – which political party can anyone say has been uncompromisingly focused on the welfare and well-being of the people of Zimbabwe?
For instance, what have the two largest political parties been preoccupied with – whilst, the ordinary masses helplessly and hopelessly watched their salaries eroding by the day, yet prices of basic commodities on a skyrocketing rampage, thereby turning their lives into a living nightmare?
Ever since the November 2017 military coup, the ruling ZANU PF has been haunted with a real or imaginary G40 ghost – particularly, those who were ousted together with then tyrannical leader Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his wife Grace – returning to wrestle power back from the coup plotters.
Such that, the regime has spent most of its time brutally, ruthlessly, and maliciously suppressing any perceived dissent amongst the innocent suffering citizenry, under the pretext of preventing an ‘illegal regime change’ – instead of focusing on improving the people’s livelihoods.
The opposition MDC, has not fared any better, as the party has been embroiled in one factional fight, after another – with the virtual breaking down of any parliamentary and local government democracy, characterized by wanton and vindictive recalling of fellow members of parliament, and councillors, fighting over party head offices, one litigation after another, and now the circus recently witnessed with the supreme court imposed MDC-T extraordinary congress.
In all this, where have ‘the people’, and their welfare been central – considering that nearly all of these politicians have the audacity to always claim that their actions are primarily motivated by a desire to “better the lives of the people of Zimbabwe”?
How exactly did all these self-serving, self-preserving, and self-aggrandizing actions by the country’s main political parties “better the lives of the people of Zimbabwe” – whilst, we have merely watched, as our lives have been turned upside down, and our livelihoods destroyed?
Should this not be the time Zimbabweans finally woke up to the blunt fact that politicians, and political party politics, does not serve us in any way – as it is purely meant to serve those in the high echelons of power, with the poor suffering citizens at the bottom of the pyramid, solely being the stepping stones?
Should we not finally realize that we only have ourselves to rely on? We are not weak as a people. Let us remember that as a united force – with a population of over 16 million – there is absolutely nothing that we can not achieve, and nothing that can stop us, working together.
We actually have more in common as Zimbabweans, than what separates us – as politicians, and political party politics, have been the main ‘divide and rule’ architects in this country, who have sought to pit us against each other, for their own selfish and narrow benefit, whilst we suffer even more – and, we need to finally cast these artificial and manufactured differences aside, so as to work together for a truly better life for every Zimbabwean.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263733399640 / +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org