We must all rise to the occasion

via We must all rise to the occasion 8 October 2014 by Vince Musewe

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” (JF Kennedy)

Zimbabwe is a failed predatory state; this is an open secret. The challenge is for us to take responsibility and rescue our country from total collapse. We cannot wait any longer, nor can we expect that, even if by some Chinese or Russian magic wand the economy is revived, things will fundamentally change.

Predatory states have existed for a very long time. However, it appears they are more prevalent in post-colonial Africa and have actually become the curse of Africa. This must be purged by a new generation of African leaders as we seek to create new nation states based on social justice and equity.

The terms “predator” and “prey” reflects a relationship where those who control the state apparatus (i.e. Zanu (PF), plunder state resources without any regard for the welfare of the citizens; just as a predator would have no regard for its prey. Predatory states never deliver sustainable development in the long term; they can only survive through bribery and corruption.

The current circumstances we face in Zimbabwe are a reflection of political, economic and social total systems failure. When a system fails, trying to fix some of its parts can give a temporary illusion that the problem situation has been resolved, but as we are seeing, this can actually make the system degenerate further.

We therefore have no choice but to change this regime and to dispossess Zanu (PF) of the control of state apparatus and its institutions that are essentially extractive. The question on our minds must be how do we gather ourselves around changing this regime?

Firstly, the means that we have are limited so we must maximise the probability of success using the tools we have. These tools are: ensuring that we have a new system of election political leadership and using our numbers.

Reforming the electoral system and institutions is a sure way of getting rid of Zanu (PF) and they know it. They will therefore do everything they can to avoid it and will, as usual, use every trick in the book. This means they cannot be trusted and cannot be responsible for the next elections.

The SADC, AU,(after Mugabe) the UN and the international community can be our only hope. They must declare Zimbabwe a failed state and insist that the next elections can only be administered by an international body.

This is critical, because we Zimbabweans have clearly failed to do so ourselves. Sovereignty comes with responsibility and I know that the sovereignty argument will be used as a defence mechanism by Zanu (PF). But we cannot accept that argument any longer. We must mobilise mass action on this issue.

Second, is the issue of our numbers. Many of us, through wanting to make a difference, have established political parties. There is nothing wrong with that but we must not be naïve to the consequences in an election where there is one common enemy. We know this will only strengthen the enemy. We can still end up being dominated by Zanu (PF) as we would have split the vote. We must learn from 2008. This us to unite against a common enemy.

More important, we must now think and rise above our egos and personal motives for the greater good. That is a difficult thing for politicians to do, given our history. There has really never been a permanent and fair partnership among ourpoliticians since the armed struggle; personalities, self-interest, ulterior motives will always create problems.

In uniting, we must ask ourselves some hard questions and come up with compromises. I think everyone in politics has something to bring to the table, some more than others, but we need to do an objective analysis as opposition political parties so that we maximise on our strengths and minimise on our weaknesses. That is how a dialogue around unity should be. This can be facilitated by an independent party with no vested interests in the outcome.

I continue to talk to opposition parties and I am not getting a sense that they are willing to sacrifice their own interests for the greater good. They seem unable to trust each other and fear that they might not achieve their own narrow interests in a united front. There is real fear by politicians of being marginalised if they unite. We must do our best to remove that fear. A formula we could use is a commitment of proportional representation of opposition political parties in the new government. The proportion or pre-election deal could be worked out using historical performance and other relevant criteria that do not penalise smaller formations and also ensure that talent and competence are not compromised by size.

In my opinion, these are the critical discussions that we must have among ourselves. We must never forget that unless we dismiss Zanu (PF) from power in 2018, we will be complicit in creating a Mugabe dynasty and guess who could be our next president? “Dr” Grace Mugabe – this is just too ghastly to contemplate!

The ideals of our liberation struggle in Zimbabwe have not been met because we have failed to achieve social justice and equity. That therefore must remain our agenda even at personal cost.

Let us all put Zimbabwe first for a change. – Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com


  • comment-avatar
    Angela Wigmore 8 years ago

    Yes Vince, most of us who truly care for our country above ourselves already know this. But just as the old adage ”there are none so blind as those who WILL NOT SEE” is true, so too is ”there are none so deaf as those who WILL NOT HEAR”!

  • comment-avatar

    Saying the obvious here Vincent. Which political parties have you been talking to and on whose behalf? It does not sound true.You are just potraying yourself as a unity and peace broker. How twisted.

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    revenger avenger 8 years ago

    You still dream of nikuv erections ” dismiss zpf in 2018 ” !?!?!? Humbug. Regime change NOW Wanted NOW. Wake up Mr academic

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    This is one of those back to the future moments… we had this opportunity for electoral and other reform with the unity government, but it was squandered.
    Where we will be come 2018 is uncertain.
    2018 is the next election; is that the first time we can act? By boycotting that election, because, for sure, Zanu PF will not have reformed the electoral playing field. And they will have a strategy for that… maybe another Morgan?
    How do we convince AU, SADC, UN that Zimbabwe is a failed state. It is “at peace”. Some semblance of law and order exists. Our last elections were approved by AU and SADC.
    Mugabe has been playing the succession race game with his colleagues in Zanu PF. We all laugh at their gullibility.
    But Mugabe has also been playing games with us.. just enough law and order to make us think it worthwhile to be law abiding. I suspect our neighbours all laugh at our gullibility.
    What to do is uncertain. But perhaps many small voices pushing and pushing at local problems and issues; water supplies in the cities; police roadblocks; passport office; the judicial system; freedom of the airwaves; A million objections. Passive resistance. Rates boycotts; Tax boycotts.
    Are we prepared as a nation to do this? a nation that refuses? Refuses to cooperate; refuses to bribe; refuses to pay for non-existent services. A nation that resists. That says no; no to abuse; no to corruption; no to being shoved around. Ten million voices saying ‘No’.
    Such acts of defiance require leadership. We are all painfully aware of the inadequacies of leadership in Zimbabwe.
    What other options exist for us in Mr Mugabe’s “my Zimbabwe”?