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