via email by Ben Semwayo
Your prized car gets stolen, and the thief drives it in broad daylight and proudly parades it for everybody to see, unperturbed by the consequences that must logically follow, all because he is a brutal, machine-gun-touting warlord notorious for pumping bullets into the bodies of anyone who dares challenge him. What depth of feeling of anger do you experience? That is exactly what the people of Zimbabwe feel after the last election was stolen from them.
The problem for Zimbabwe is that sadly, if her history is anything to go by, that is where the story ends. We Zimbabweans are so fearful that we would rather lose what is rightfully ours than make the slightest sound in protest, which is why all the elections over the last three decades were stolen, with only a few pockets of resistance daring to register their disapproval, after which they fizzled out long before the next election. Zimbabweans are great at whispering their disapproval behind closed doors, seething with indignation, in stead of transforming their anger into practical strategies that can bring change.
In the case of the last election, the theft was so expertly executed and so quickly given the blessing of the corrupt leaders of Africa that all energy was drained out of the patriotic Zimbabweans who had laboured so selflessly for a free Zimbabwe, reminding them that the continent of Africa, once described has dark, has unfortunately still not seen the light and has in fact gone darker, thanks to the greed of our self-styled pseudo liberators.
The people of Zimbabwe are a peace-loving people and have hitherto grinned and squirmed under the man-made burden they are forced to bear. The last stolen election seemed to mark the end of the people’s resistance as ZanuPF pulled a stunner that the opposition was clearly unprepared for despite the numerous warnings and credibly divulged information, but nothing could be further from the truth. The people’s resistance is alive and well, and there are signs that things are set to change as the masses seem to have found a new impetus in their bid to emancipate themselves.
The suppressed fury of the suffering Zimbabweans is manifested in many forms. Gagged from openly articulating their feelings without any fear of repression, they have taken the Internet by storm to surreptitiously vent their anger against the status quo and to encourage one another to keep fighting for change. Those who are technologically savvy use every excuse to make a political point and gain some political mileage, however small it may be, because they know all these minuscule contributions add up. The illegitimate government knows that too, which is why it is fighting back with ever-increasing ridiculous and tyrannical laws, the latest being the self-awarded barbaric right to spy into people’s private Internet activity and mobile communications. That betrays the panic state that the government finds itself in.
In Harare anti-government graffiti has appeared in many parts, and more appears every morning, having been furtively emblazoned under the cover of the night by citizens who have vowed that they will not be silenced. ‘You have sealed our mouths and won’t allow us to speak the truth,’ they seem to say, ‘but there are more ways of speaking than one.’ It will not be long before this mode of warfare spreads beyond the precincts of Harare, to even the remotest parts of the country.
The bolder citizens risk life and limb, daring to publicly demonstrate against the ruthless regime that will stop at nothing to stay in power and squander the country’s wealth. Many are thrust into prisons, tortured, maimed, and even murdered, but they are only fuel for another wave of courageous protesters. People are becoming bolder by the day as their anger rises in a crescendo until the climax is reached, indeed until the thief knows they are a force to reckon with, and until the will of the people prevails, because once the wheel of change starts turning, there can only be one ending: they will be the victors.
Far from being over, the people’s resistance is only beginning to gather momentum. The opposition can derive hope from the fact that there is an increasing awareness of ZanuPF’s ploys and manoeuvres, an excellent example being the way most people have dismissed Maduku’s new NCA party with the contempt it deserves. It was long exposed as a ZanuPF projects thanks to the vigilance of the people.
In our quest for true democracy, we should become more creative in attacking the illegitimate government. Gone are the days when people relied on the international community to agitate for change on their behalf. Zimbabweans should realise that times are changing, and outsiders are not going to eternally weep louder than the bereaved. It is we Zimbabweans who should spearhead the revolution, then external sympathizers will complement our efforts by adding their powerful voices to our pleas for justice.
The first step we need to take is to take is to make it abundantly clear that we have not accepted Mugabe’s disputed win. We should refuse to be bullied into submission. It is sad that the MDC has all but thrown in the towel and has in fact joined the illegitimate government, contrary to their own initial position not to be party to a clearly fraudulently constituted government. The people of Zimbabwe should refuse to recognise that government and demand proper elections now. Five years is too long a time to be governed by a coterie of people without the mandate to lead the country. lf truth be told, Zimbabwe’s current government is a government of criminals and must be forced out of the way.