via Divided we fall | The Zimbabwean by Vince Musewe
Since the liberation struggle days, Zimbabweans have found it difficult to unite against a common purpose. The Frontline States and the then Organization of African Unity did their utmost to try to get Zimbabweans to establish a common front against the colonialists. But nothing ever worked or lasted because, sooner or later, the political parties involved would split around personalities. To this day we still suffer from the same problem; we are unable to unite.
I have been in contact with a myriad of Zimbabwean organizations around the world. Some have political objectives and others humanitarian. The common factor is that all want to see the emergence of a democratic and modern state, underpinned by freedom. That is what every Zimbabwean wants, whether they are abroad or at home.
What surprises me is that some of these organizations are not talking to each other and yet they want the same results. I suspect it’s the age-old Zimbabwean problem where everyone thinks they know better and are unwilling to submit themselves to others.
That will remain our major problem; we are too proud and always want to be in the limelight. Unfortunately this is not only a waste of energy and resources, it also strengthens the enemy.
There are two fundamental issues preventing us moving forward. These are the fact that almost 3 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora cannot vote and the control by Zanu (PF) of state resources and its tendency to manipulate the voting process and the results using state institutions.
For me these two issues are what we must focus on and ensure that they never happen again. I can’t wait till 2018 and then only go through a sham vote again. I am sure most of us feel the same.
Between now and then, these are the only two things that really matter because without them being in place, no amount of advocacy will change anything. Zimbabweans in the Diaspora must therefore focus now on ensuring that a constitutional case is brought, whereby they must challenge their exclusion from voting. They must also put adequate pressure out there so that the voting systems and technology used in the future is never again controlled by Zanu (PF).
A third and very important issue is that of investments. Other African countries are receiving significant investments from their folk in the Diaspora. They are building and equipping hospitals and schools, establishing new technology business parks and investing in infrastructure development and housing back home. In the case of Zimbabwe, most funds remitted home are for consumption.
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora ought to seriously look at themselves and consider whether they are really committed to a developed future Zimbabwe. If that is the case, don’t expect Zanu (PF) to develop this country, they have dismally failed even in cases where they had adequate resources. The vision and passion are just not there.
In my opinion our country is in the wrong hands. We must fight on the political and economic fronts by investing directly into our communities. On the political front we can also start now but we need to realize that it will take a while to change mindsets.
If we are all united we are bound to achieve better results in a shorter period than if we remain separate – as is the case now. We have some awesome people out there who can accelerate development at home. The only problem is that there is no united platform that they can use. More important, there is the issue of attitude amongst Zimbabweans that prevents us from collaborating.
We must stop pointing fingers at the MDC and participate to see the changes we want. We need to see the MDC brand being revived with new, fresh ideas and we must purge this mentality of entitlement to position. Simply because you may be a founder of an organization does not mean you have the best ideas in achieving its objectives. This applies to other organizations out there too. It’s a matter of self-esteem I guess.
Let us for once focus on what we want to achieve: Zanu (PF) must never have the monopoly of political power again in Zimbabwe. Surely that is a good enough cause for us to unite and work towards together?
Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org