Time to demand our freedom

via Time to demand our freedom – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 5, 2015

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Guest Column by Vince Musewe

Let it be known that young progressive Zimbabweans are sick and tired of Zanu PF failures and never-ending excuses while the economic and social decline exacerbates and the plundering of our national assets continues unabated.

The sad truth is that colonial ruler Ian Smith, despite his racist policies which can never be condoned by any one of us, actually did more to build this country than what Zanu PF has done in the last 35 years. In fact, they have managed to destroy much while gloating about it. That cannot go on; Zimbabweans deserve a better quality of life under leaders they trust and respect.

It is, therefore, about time we begin to focus on creating a new paradigm for our country – a paradigm that is inclusive and based on the dignity and prosperity of all citizens as long as they are called Zimbabweans.

For far too long we have spent our energies in trying to convert Zanu PF, but they have shown us that they are unable to unchain themselves from the past. Their continual obsession with the past has resulted in a failed State that has been plundered to its knees by a predatory cabal who want to continue their hold on power. We cannot and should not rely anymore on any one of them to create the Zimbabwe we imagine.

In my opinion, it is therefore our responsibility to ensure that the future of our country will be significantly different from the past. This requires a new leadership, a new language of possibilities, hope and courage as we dare to claim the freedom which they promised, but have failed to deliver.

As everyone focuses on the succession debate within Zanu PF as if it really matters, some of us are hardly persuaded that much will change post President Robert Mugabe. It is most probable that whoever takes over from him will continue on the same path of selfish pursuit of ambition and material wealth at the expense of ordinary Zimbabweans who deserve better.

We, therefore, can no longer afford to sit, watch and complain as most have done in the last 35 years. Zimbabwe needs a fresh start with fresh brains. It needs a new fight to remove this predatory regime. For goodness sake, we must all stop being cowards and demand our freedom back.

Our first idea must be that we can indeed create a country that is self-reliant and not dependent on others for its development. Zanu PF has insisted on selling the idea that we are victims of a Western conspiracy and we must, therefore, look to the East or anywhere outside our borders for solutions. By doing that, we have been blinded to appreciate the potential that lies within us as a people and as a country. Their mentality of victimhood has disempowered us and has no place in the Zimbabwe we want to create.

The irony of it all is that millions of Zimbabweans can be found everywhere in the world in all professions and yet their motherland is crumbling. We must accept that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are not our enemies, but are our partners in creating a new Zimbabwe. We must, therefore, embrace them and their ideas as we chart a new way forward together. Our development must no longer be masterminded by others.

Second, we need to industrialise Zimbabwe if we are to improve the quality of life of many; there is no other choice. We cannot be happy with single-digit economic growth rates aspired by Zanu PF. The economy we want to create is a highly industrialised one with full employment which achieves much higher growth rates. Zimbabwe can be a trillion-dollar economy in 30 years if we put our minds to it.

Our private sector — and not government ministers — must play a leading role in this process. We must create the new industrial place through investment, innovation, entrepreneurship, good corporate governance and the respect of secure private property ownership laws. We must reject that Zanu PF value system of selfishness and corruption that now permeates our business sector.We need a new game in town.

I am convinced that if only we can motivate our youth (being those between 18-35 years old) who make up 57% of our population to arise and be counted, we can indeed have a new President in State House in 2018. We must shun the old politics of violence and division and promote constructive dialogue and co-operation even where we differ.

I continue to be at pains to get our youths to realise that nobody out there will shape the future they want. The power is in their hands. This requires every youth in Zimbabwe to take responsibility and realise the power which they have to change Zimbabwe.

We must also do our best to make Zimbabwe an attractive investment destination. We do not want investments from Russia and China alone, but from entrepreneurs throughout the world. We want them to come to Zimbabwe, make money and create jobs for our people without being frustrated or asked for bribes. We want successful Zimbabweans out there to invest at home as a priority and create jobs here. They must be welcome here.

This requires that any laws or Zanu PF policies which discourage investment need to be expunged without delay as we move to create economic freedom in a new Zimbabwe unhindered by the zero sum game of politics which continues to arrest our potential.

We must now move our country from the old chapter of liberation struggle rhetoric without economic transformation and freedom to a new chapter of economic freedom, rapid industrialisation, inclusive economics and politics, accountability and principle-centred leadership. We cannot afford otherwise.

It is time to change the game, but we can only do so if we change our thinking about what and who we can become.

●Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on


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    The Mind Boggles 7 years ago

    Itai Dzamara one hero in a nation of 13 million, there is your answer Vince, the straw that broke the camels back for me. Itai Dzamara’s name will stay with me until I die as a man of courage, the other 13 million people including myself and you Vince get what we deserve.

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    What a refreshing voice, at last! You are not on your own Vince, heaven backs you up. We decree the protection of the Almighty upon your life and that your courage increases each day. God works with such minds as yours. You are not alone. God bless you, your family and your generation.

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    A first step is to acknowledge that ALL the infrastructure that we enjoy today was CARVED out of the bush by the RHODESIANS// You are a RHODESIAN like it or not if you were born before 1980 // HOW is it possible that post 1980 under a ZIMBABWEAN government (I have never used the word WHITE/BLACK as that is too simple an argument) all around us is crumbling The vast majority of black people should be asking themselves this question and face the facts. The present government have failed US all totally// .ZANU PF SHOULD GO AND GO NOW/ SO ALL OF US CAN START TO REBUILD THE WONDERFUL COUNTRY THAT IS ZIMBABWE//

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    mandevu 7 years ago

    Yes Vince. This message has to come through as a continuously and constantly – at rally’s, in ordinary conversation, on the street publicly, in front of the army and police, in parliament, in the papers and radio. ZPF will still keep stealing any election, but all votes must be cast against them as well. Build a groundswell of opposition to the oppressors. It is remarkable that that is what ZPF have become – “the oppressors”, when they have always tried to sell themselves as the “liberators”

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    U.N. Sucks. 7 years ago

    Would it be fair to suggest that a large number of well qualified African (black) people who have fled Zimbabwe in recent years choose to live and work in essentially WHITE societies – using the education, knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired in most part from the Rhodesian education system, to secure their status and future.

    Certainly there a number of professional Zims/Rhodies, both black and white now living in my small community.

    Obviously, anyone over 50 years of age would have been educated and stimulated by racist white government funded free education.
    These people, in the 45 > 70yr demographic, are the ones who should be leading Zimbabwe and shaping a secure future.

    Instead, Zimbabwe is led by self serving delusional gangsters, (sorry, war heroes), many of whom appear to believe in witch craft, goblins, muti, spirits (evil or otherwise) and all sorts of primitive or prehistoric nonsense.

    Until ” African Democracy” (one man – one vote – once) becomes a thing of the past and true democracy prevails, then it appears most Zimbabweans will continue to exist (barely), politically less honestly represented than pre 1980.

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    The Mind Boggles 7 years ago

    @ U.N. Sucks , you make a valid point, I am a post Rhodie era who went to school in mixed classrooms, played sports in mixed teams and grew up side by side shoulder to shoulder with my fellow Zimbo’s of all colours. I became bitter later in life when I discovered all my brothers in arms were doing well and settled in western countries whilst us “Whities” took the brunt of an evil regime.

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    Demand freedom? ‘Zimbabwe’,born 1980 is now a mature colony of 35 with mostly black colonial masters.So live with that or send your children back to the bush.Their kids will be Born-free born frees or Born born frees or born free 2’s whatever.Untill of course 2’s go to war and produce the 3’s. Well just live it, ist not worth it in the long run.

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    Je suis Itai Dzamara.