Time to take activism beyond humour

via Time to take activism beyond humour – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 17, 2016

The question of the reportedly looted $15 billion diamond revenue continues to dominate discourse in Zimbabwe, in a way no other topic has hogged the limelight.

NewsDay Comment

What has kept the topic alive are mainly discussions on social media and the inherent humour that Zimbabweans adopt when dealing with what generally could be described as serious issues.

In yesterday’s NewsDay, we reported about a rapper who has made a short video, saying he would march to Parliament to demand his share of the looted $15 billion.

Similar such skits have been made and by so doing, the issue of the $15 billion is never far from the public limelight.

A critical issue to note is that authorities are unlikely to respond in a heavy-handed manner to such skits, as they are wont to regarding other forms of activism.

As eminent scholar Angelique Haugerud pointed out, humour and satire make “dissent more palatable than it would be if conveyed more directly and conventionally”.

However, this is the catch and the question is: How long Zimbabweans will keep resorting to humour and satire instead of confronting the challenges that confront them directly?

Satire is a good starting point, but if it does not serve as an inspiration for action, then it’s a blunt object not fit for purpose.

We are not saying Zimbabweans should immediately pour into the streets demanding change, but this is the time we should be pressing for transparency and accountability regarding the missing money.

By now ordinary Zimbabweans and civic society organisations should be knocking on the doors, metaphorically and literally, of Parliamentarians demanding that action should be taken in bringing whoever looted that money to account.

If those that were responsible for monitoring of the diamond sector slept on duty, then they should be shown the door, as they have no business being in charge of public funds and property.

There are a number of high-profile corruption cases that have gone unpunished and instead of demanding action, Zimbabweans are content with the status quo, hoping it will reform and cleanse itself, but as the last 36 years have shown, there is no chance of that happening anytime soon.

Instead of satire and humour being employed to trigger a response or action, they have become a coping mechanism strategy for ordinary Zimbabweans, who seem content at laughing at their problems in the forlorn hope that this will make them go away.

We appreciate the efforts of comedians and rappers who continue ensuring that such grand corruption is kept in the public domain, but now is the time that others took over the baton and demanded answers on the missing diamond revenue. If we demand accountability, it will serve as a warning to other bureaucrats that Zimbabweans will no longer tolerate such crass corruption and are instead ready to reclaim what is theirs.