Banditry amid political and economic problems

I AM a Zimbabwean citizen and have fully accepted the responsibilities that come with my citizenship. For this reason, I remain wholly committed to being recognised as an outstanding citizen in working for the common good.

Source: Banditry amid political and economic problems – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 6, 2016

Mutsa Murenje

I will support by my service and my means, as far as possible and consistent with my beliefs, efforts for social order and betterment, maintaining an uncompromising stand for justice and right in civic affairs. I have every reason to pretend I don’t see what’s happening in Zimbabwe. But, how can I abandon my country, how can I give it up? My heart won’t let me do it. My love for Zimbabwe is too strong.

This is the prime motif why I have to keep placing my physical and intellectual abilities at my nation’s service. As John F. Kennedy queried: “Where else, but in the political profession, is the individual expected to sacrifice all-including his own career-for the national good?”

I am not oblivious of the fact that: “To overthrow oppression has been sanctioned by humanity and is the highest aspiration of every free man” (Nelson Mandela).

I have seen, in the past week, dangerous political behaviour from the powers-that-be. The behaviour is dangerous in that it is harmful not only to those who wield political power, but also to citizens in general.

This maladaptive behaviour ought to stop. Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba, behaves as if he is some kind of general. He speaks bellicose language and one can tell that he has a penchant for belittling all of us. Somehow, he thinks that he and President Robert Mugabe are to dominate us forever. Threats of citizens facing the full might of the State give credence to our claim that an undemocratic and dictatorial regime continues to force its rule on us.

Otherwise, how else could one justify savage attacks on defenceless and unarmed citizens? Charamba has no right to stand in the way of our democracy. His is not a venial error. He knows what he is doing and these are the people that need to be brought to justice once normalcy has returned to our country.

I have also noted, with concern, the 14-day ban on all forms of protest in Harare. Legal minds have already proffered their arguments regarding the illegitimacy and unconstitutional nature of such a ban. I don’t intend to enter into jurisprudential arguments. All I need to state is that I am totally opposed to all forms of violence, be it from the State or citizens fighting for change.

Ours is meant to be a peaceful and non-violent struggle. It is, therefore, important that all oppositional forces educate their followers about the need to affirm the inviolable and inalienable dignity of the human person, defend the intrinsic right to life, and foster a social climate propitious to integral development, solidarity and mutual respect. There is an incumbent need to refrain from the use of violence.

As Martin Luther King observed: “Violence is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Violence adds deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.” All we have to do is to realise that “The power of non-violence is, thus, the power to withdraw support from unjust conditions and institutions and to commit it to constructive alternatives,” (Mahatma Gandhi).

We have reached a complicated stage in our political and economic life as a country. I don’t think it is a politic and prudent move to observe the ban imposed by our oppressors. Let me hasten to say that I do not defy authorities.

My words, whether spoken or written, are carefully considered, lest I place myself on record as uttering that which would make me appear antagonistic to law and order. I recognise human government as an ordinance of divine appointment and I teach obedience to it as a sacred duty, obviously within its legitimate sphere.

The Mugabe regime is illegitimate and deserves not to be listened to. Mugabe has begun his merciless onslaught on the judiciary. We know it has been compromised for decades, but there are some judges, who work under extremely difficult conditions to uphold the rule of law in our country.

These have always respected our right to free expression and must be supported. There must be separation of powers and Mugabe can’t be allowed to encroach his authority to stifle political dissent. He has failed and should allow change to take place in our country. We are not and will never be his subjects.

It must be known, locally and abroad, that we are champions and lovers of our country. Whatever we are doing is in the national interest. Zimbabwe needs all of us and we must each play our role to contribute to the common good. Our unified commitment to work in trust toward the common good, fostering a sense of community, is a key building block of good governance. We have an evil regime intimidating and instilling fear in our people.

Nonetheless, we must keep fighting for the just use of power to create conditions for unity and trust and inspiring in the governed the desire to contribute to the common good. Nothing can be better than the rule of law, transparency and accountability as well as free expression and participation.

The ramifications of the political and economic crisis are well documented. But there are other consequences that might be taken for granted. I am a social scientist and I value social capital.

The concept of social capital was propounded by French sociologist, anthropologist, philosopher and renowned public intellectual, Pierre Bourdieu as an alternative to human capital. Our kinship ties are dying.

Economic collapse and extensive downward mobility of Zimbabweans over the past two decades have caused the decline in the role of the family as a basis of support. Will we still have the institution of the family when we get to the new Zimbabwe?

The government hasn’t been able to meet its salary obligations in the past few months. The blame is on everyone else, but themselves.

How do you explain that Mariyawanda Nzuwa ended up with a $200 000 cellphone bill on a foreign trip? Are these sanctions bleeding our economy or our own mishandling of political and economic affairs? Nzuwa must resign. It’s unacceptable that civil servants suffer, while an individual has the luxury of blowing such a huge amount of money on phone calls. This is how low we have become and it’s sad.

In conclusion, we are not rabid critics of the government. All we want is to live in a society where there is tolerance for different points of view, a society where laws provide a framework for peaceful disagreement, a society characterised by free and equal citizens, a society in which citizens have sovereign power — which allows us to choose a government or dismiss it.

We expect regular, free and fair elections and our country must be governed according to the law and no leader must be above the law. May God bless Zimbabwe! The struggle continues unabated!

Mutsa Murenje is a social and political writer based in South Africa


  • comment-avatar
    C Frizell 6 years ago

    Well, well – Things Fall Apart. How you get rid of a vioent regime non-violently I don’t know. But Ghandi managed it in India.

    I have no love for Charamba, especially when he (prematurely) celbrated my death some years ago in his Nathaniel Manheru persona. He is purely and simply – a thug, as are nearly all Zanoids.

    Together with millions of Zimbos, I look forward to the demise of his demi-god.