Zimbabwe – Where do we stand?

from Zimbabwe Situation Facebook by Godfrey

Let me say this from the very outset, this is not an attempt to lecture anyone. I have no intention or interest in telling people what to think. Everyone has a mind of his/her own. When that mind is used freely everyone is capable to opine informatively and take what necessary educated steps he or she deems fit. We have enough dictators and megalomaniacs to dictate to us. They are very competent in that department. They do not need my help. We have seen and felt the results. Their trophies are permanently engraved with the suffering of the people they oppress.

I, however, do hope that no matter where one stands on issues, we will all take a moment to reflect, because history is watching.

Historically, leaders are judged harshly. They deserve it. But what about the people that these leaders abuse? What role do they play? Unless ordinary people gather the courage to free themselves from tyranny and take fundamental steps, like storming the Bastille or chasing long serving dictators out of office like what the Maghreb states and Egypt did during the so called Arab Spring, they are largely ignored as if they are not co-authors of the history they live and leave behind. Everyone plays a part whether consciously or unconsciously, passively or actively in forming the policies we all enjoy or suffer from. But one thing is clear. There is nothing super human about political leaders.

To the contrary, there is everything sub human about many political leaders. That is why they find it very natural to oppress and kill their own with unflinching animality. The last century cursed the world with a long list of such: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, Mobutu Sese Seko, Saddam Hussein, Robert Mugabe etc. To mask their animalism they endow themselves with grandiose titles. The Fuhrer und Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler was not formally educated. His father was an illegitimate child, at a time when illegitimacy unfairly mattered. The Father of Nations, Brilliant Genius of Humanity, Joseph Stalin was abused by his alcoholic father. Exactly when and where; His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular;  was born is unknown. But just like His Excellency, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, he was abandoned by his father. The Revolution Order First Class and Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, Saddam Hussein never knew his father. The All-Powerful Warrior Who, Because of His Endurance and Inflexible Will to Win, Will Go from Conquest to Conquest Leaving Fire in His Wake, Mobutu Sese Sekko was bereaved at a tender age. His father died when he was only eight years old. All these titles are meant to overwhelm the general psyche and mystify the holders but behind these veils are brutes, mostly of unhappy childhood.

Of interest is our own, His Excellency Robert Mugabe, the leader of Zimbabwe. Deconstruction is warranted. The history of Zimbabwe shows that there is nothing excellent about Mugabe. What with an 89 year old clinging to power; a dictatorship; an oppressed people; a ruined economy; institutionalized corruption; a history of genocidal, racial and political beatings and killings; impunity? Ordinarily and wisely, 89 year old senior citizens retire and spend their last days enjoying whatever life they still have left. But no, not the mighty Robert. Unfortunately, for him and Zimbabwe, no amount of synthetic hormones can be pumped in his blood stream to induce competency. He dismally failed to run the country in his prime. He sure cannot do it now at such an advanced age, especially with his neurotic obsession to stay in power. It is just not physically or mentally possible.

Mugabe may be the most visible purulent tumor in Zimbabwean politics today; verbose and abusive, but he is not the muscle behind the cancer. The man is 89. Even if he wanted to, he cannot and has never personally manhandled anyone. But he is quick to advertize his fighting prowess and strength. He fully utilizes what he has destroyed, the youth.  He and his lieutenants have browbeaten the impressionable youth and stripped them of a mind of their own. The youth, who are supposed to be the best asset of tomorrow, have been made to believe that success only comes through government, ZANU PF controlled government. The future has been dehumanized and turned into pustules drowning and feeding from an infected cesspool called ZANU PF. They have been thoroughly brainwashed and they do Mugabe’s dirty work with unparalleled alacrity but the damage can still be reversed if handled correctly.

Worldwide governments are generally corrupt. They should never be trusted. Governments are only functional where there are checks and balances in place to combat the obvious, and even then corruption still creeps in. Reliance and/or dependence on the government swallow growth. In the case of Zimbabwe nothing governmental functions, and there is no mechanism to curb the excesses.  Thus, the youths who have been promised heaven on earth will once again be disappointed. Unfortunately, they have normalized disappointments because that is all they know. Some of them cannot wait for the next election season, because that is when they can hang out with ‘chefs’, drink as much as they can, celebrate the personality cult and display their power in full force. They actually think the ZANU PF way is the way things must be done, because Mugabe’s Zimbabwe has never shown them anything different. They were born after Mugabe took power. They do not know that: electricity can run for twenty four hours; that faucets were meant to pump out clean water;  that potholes are not a road design; that street lights used to turn on every evening for the safety of all; that they can work hard and succeed on their own without boot licking and promises of sporadic and selective government handouts; that they can say no to brutalizing their neighbors; that America and Britain have no interest, even though they may welcome one, in effecting regime change in Zimbabwe, and if they did, it is not because of the gallantry of the Zimbabwean national army or Mugabe that such has not taken place, ask Saddam. But these kids are still reachable and they can start to build their own unadulterated future, only if they reclaim their mind with the help of all level headed Zimbabweans.

We can start by campaigning against the travel bans, the so called sanctions. The gasps are audible, but please hear the logic. Sanctions have not worked, they rarely do. In fact they gave Mugabe and crew a mega phonic excuse to run the economy down and self enrich with gusto. Everything was blamed on sanctions. The gullible bought it. Many of those targeted always find ways to travel to countries they are banned. Tobaiwa Mudede, the registrar general gives them new passports in different names. Their children are studying abroad, in the very same countries their parents are forbidden to travel. They get everything they want and lord it over on poor Zimbabweans.

Lift the travel ban and let Mugabe claim victory like Idi Amin Dada, and become the Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Zimbabwe in Particular, a hollow title that will however feed his ego, and disarm him of one of his ostensible but, in this political climate, potent arguments. In any case the sanctions can be lifted on condition that human rights are observed and there is no flare up of post election violence, which will help a very vulnerable Zimbabwean population. And, if Zimbabweans are not abused by ZANU PF then opposition politics will grow roots which will be very difficult to uproot. Mugabe will be able to once again have tea with the queen, and perhaps that will be his road to Damascus. He may find revelation in the cup of tea and half tea spoon of sugar, and realize that it is far much easier to govern a free people than an oppressed lot. Maybe that may lead to real and credible elections in 2018.

Understandable, the west does not want to legitimize a stolen election, but there is practically nothing the west can do now to delegitimize Mugabe’s presidency. Other than making himself a fool by going back to SADC, Tsvangirai has all but given up in challenging Mugabe’s presidency, a good idea in my opinion. He should not have contested in the first place. But since he did, he legitimized Mugabe. Now is the time for him to expend his energy in avoiding post election violence and strategize on how he can effectively remain relevant outside the Global Political Agreement. He needs to remind Zimbabweans that politics does not start and end with the election period. For a country to progress, the people need to be aware of what is going on in the day to day governance of the country and must have a say every day. Putting pressure on a government daily, is the only way a government can be responsive to the needs of the people, rather than election time activism once every four or five years.

Of course the pan African argument, Zimbabwe is an African state and only an African solution can solve the problem, will be presented. This is a very convenient argument. Unfortunately, no one has ever articulated to me what that African solution is. Human rights are universal. Africans used the human rights platform to rid themselves of colonialism, segregation and apartheid. Ironically, the loudest and most eloquent proponents of this African solution are the very people who are at the top, who cling on to power, who oppress their own and who benefit most from the untenable status quo.

Zimbabwe must move forward, otherwise we are forever going to be remembered as a bunch of gutless people who could not stand up to an 89 year old. Negative stereotypes stick like glue. Mugabe’s current presidency is a window of opportunity to press for reform and good governance because if he is allowed an eventless time in office, Zimbabwe is in for it. Mugabe’s ZANU PF successor will take the cup. The obligation is on us. Find out why.