via A nation of educated idiots | The Zimbabwean 14.05.14 by Vince Musewe
I have never seen a nation so stuck in denigrating its own for no reason other than that they have dared to be different. I have never seen a nation that complains so much and yet is unable to come together and do the right thing without persecuting the character of those who have dared to try and take our country in a different direction.
There is nothing wrong with Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma challenging the status quo, and we should applaud their bravery. There is nothing wrong with Morgan Tsvangirai as a hero who has contributed significantly to creating democratic space in Zimbabwe.
I have much respect for what he has done and how, out of the millions of cowards, he put himself in harm’s way to challenge Mugabe. He deserves all the accolades and must be declared a national hero in his lifetime; we are tired of useless dead heroes being declared heroes only on Mugabe’s whim.
But our challenge today is how we can take Zimbabwe on a significantly different and new political trajectory? We must create a new narrative; that is our responsibility – not Tsvangirai’s alone.
This new narrative must be based on the principle that Zimbabwe belongs to all of us – nobody has an exclusive right to it. Second, this new narrative is based on the need for us to continually renew our leadership so that nobody ever plays the big man again. We do not want to ever be complicit in creating a dictator in any form or shape whatsoever. This also requires leadership accountability at all levels of our society.
The third point is that our new narrative must be inclusive of all Zimbabweans in creating a new state. This includes those outside our borders. Fourth our society must be based on the universal principles of freedom, equity, justice and the right to pursue ambitions without being limited by the state.
Fifth, it must be based on the maximisation of our potential as a country and the restitution of past injustices against all those who have suffered or been dispossessed.
Isn’t it therefore right that anyone of us, regardless of their position in our society, who behaves contrary to our narrative, must be subject to sanction? Our society must learn to focus on the issues – not on personalities – because none of us are perfect. However we must respect and duly honour those among us who at least stand for what is right.
We all know why we are where we are as a country. We allowed one man to dominate us and do as he pleases with our lives. We accepted that we are underlings and that we can be abused. That mentality needs to stop.
I have spoken to many Zimbabweans about the MDC-T issue and most truly believe that only Tsvangirai can remove Mugabe and that Biti and Mangoma are wrong to challenge him. What rubbish!
I want to encourage Biti and Mangoma to be steadfast in these times. Nobody has the monopoly of political power. I have also noted that whenver one decides to take a new path, one cannot expect the multitudes to applaud and immediately follow. Leadership is a lonely journey only to be taken by a few of us who have the conviction and the courage to do so.
One thing we must learn is to create choices for ourselves. We need more strong political parties with a new approach to our problems. We need new thinking and new language. For goodness sake, let those who have the conviction come forward and let us not pull them down. Ultimately we will all be the winners.
Now these two gentlemen must prove to us that this is not all about them but about putting Zimbabwe First. We must hold them accountable to the standards we now expect: utmost dedication to the cause of freedom for all, selfless service, an inclusive approach, accountability and smart thinking on how to get our economy out of trouble.
It was Gandhi who said first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
I will respect and support any Zimbabwean who believes in democracy and does not think that they are the only ones with the answers and therefore entitled to lead us. I will respect any Zimbabwean who dares to be different and challenge this status quo, as long as they stand for what is right; our freedom and our right to self-determination.
Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org