The Zimbabwe we want (pt2): How fear has arrested our potential

via Bulawayo24 NEWS | How fear has arrested Zimbabwe’s potential by Vince Musewe & Elton Mangoma 19 January 2014

In this paper we want to look at how Zimbabweans have for the last 34 years operated under an environment of fear and how this has limited the country’s potential.

Political leadership by fear has resulted in us as a country not taking the best decisions. Rather we have left this to a group of men who do not necessarily have the interests of the country at heart but are more interested in retaining political power at all costs.

In order to retain the power, they have used violence and all means to instil fear and perpetuate an environment where they cannot be questioned or challenged. This has insulated them from reality.

So, on the one side we have had politicians who fear change and on the other citizens who fear victimisation of if they challenge the status quo. This is a cocktail for regression and non-accountability.

In the Zimbabwe we want, we cannot afford to manage ourselves through fear because fear disempowers both leaders and citizens. Fear paralyses progress, and leads to a deterioration in the quality of leadership. Fear diminishes citizens and they cannot live up to their full potential. For this, our country suffers.

We must understand however, powerful as it may be fear is a mere mental construct and imagined. Fear exists in our minds only and yet it is the most powerful negative force.

There is an evident fear of loss of political power and possible exposure of crimes committed in pursuit of political power and personal wealth by most of our politicians. They fear that, if they lose power they not only lose the prestige that they currently enjoy, but more threatening is the possible exposure of crimes committed. This fear continues to hang over their heads and has made them intransigent,secretive, intolerant and protective of their positions in society regardless of how well they are performing. These Politicians have therefore become a liability to society.

Citizens fear politicians. This has retarded social progress because politicians have been put on a pedestal. Fear limits potential and  it robs us our personal power and demeans who we truly are. A society cannot develop and progress as has been the case in Zimbabwe. Where citizens are not fully empowered to pursue their ambition, they become unproductive.

In the Zimbabwe we want, we cannot afford to have fearful leaders or fearful citizens. The question is how we ensure that?

The only solution is for us to create a platform where fear can be openly discussed. As long as it remains bottled up within us, we will not be able to progress as a society. We must deal with the past in order to create a better future free from fear.

Everyone is becomes a victim. Our leaders are victims of the past whose effects still affects how they relate to the world today. Our communities are victims of an abusive social system that has denied them their rights. Our war veterans have wounds from the war never attended to or addressed. Our children have suffered by growing up in parentless families and polarised communities. We have also neglected the old and the vulnerable. All these people must be healed from a brutal past.

We believe that communities can indeed take the initiative to begin to deal with their fears. Communities need not wait for government or for anyone to do this. We must create a social platforms where we all discuss our fears so that we may begin to live to our full potential. We must realise that it is also our responsibility and not the governments to heal ourselves.

It is fact that other nations have suffered much more than Zimbabweans but they have come out stronger because they have rejected victimhood and taken the responsibility to create a better future. We can do that dotoo.

Yes the past has been a horrible experience for all but we cannot allow is to determine our future. We cannot continue to blame others but must empower ourselves.

In the Zimbabwe we desire citizens are fully empowered and this means that citizens have all the freedoms and liberties necessary for them to pursue happiness without the state limiting or controlling who they can become.

Empowered societies are innovative, self-confident, creative and productive. They take responsibility for creating the circumstances they desire. They do not expect the government to do for them what they can do for themselves. Empowered societies create opportunity which ultimately results in economic development.

This means freedom of association, free speech, an open media and the respect of the dignity and right of all citizens regardless of race or political affiliation.

The absence of fear and victimhood is empowerment; that is the Zimbabwe we want.

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. Elton Mangoma is a Zimbabwean politician and entrepreneur. You may contact Vince directly on



  • comment-avatar

    My Government thinks empowerment is giving people land and a 51% stake in a business. All I want is my voice back. I want to make my own choices to be in business or not, join a Political Party or abstain, to be religious or not. I just want to make my own choices without fear or victimisation. Without a voice for my thoughts and expressions to be heard, listened to and respected no amount of land will compensate for that.

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    Bafunda 8 years ago

    What we need is a parliamentary committee for the future of Zimbabwe. Finland has such a think tank in place that spearheads its development. This committee should then work with Zimbabweans who are currently in the country and those in the diaspora on the best future for Zimbabwe.

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    Ineffectively & poor democratic forces leadership coupled with a military junta are the reasons for fear.

    BAD LEADERSHIP breeds helplessness and paves the way for impunity and THAT is why ZANU PF can steal elections.

    This situation will continue for the foreseeable future UNLESS a decent leader comes forward.

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    Murimi Wanhasi 8 years ago

    Am I fearful? No.Why should I be.
    @Lucy.Please dont lie,U have all those freedoms u think u dont.If I may ask,what is the nature of the business that u were prevented from starting?
    Some people are busy fighting imaginary wars,and letting opportunity pass them by.Continue.

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      Murimi Wanhasi your narrow mindedness is not something I wish to cure. I stand by what I have said.When not so long ago Chinotimba made threats for people who did not vote ZPFto have their stands in Masving taken off them? and the ZPF aligned Chief of Police for Masving refused to attend a meeting chaired by what he called an MDC Mayor? and more recently Chinamasa moaned and winged when Robertson expressed his own views about the economy and you stand there and tell me there is freeedom of choice/speech and association in Zim??
      I refuse to engage with such beriftness and poverty of insight.

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        Murimi Wanhasi and oh by the way only bullies use accusatory words like ‘liar’ or ‘stupid’ because they think it is compensates for lack of reason and intelligent conversation.

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    Murimi Wanhasi 8 years ago

    @Lucy.Was I trying to demean you when I said pliz dont lie?If u feel bullied by such a simple statement,then u must be truly fearful.
    Masvingo urban is it not an MDC stronghold so to say?
    So it would follow that most people gettin the stands (obviously of voting age)should also be Mdc,administered by a sympathetic council.
    How does Chinos statement then make sense to you?R u one of those who beleives cameras were used to capture who u voted for?
    It was just a broadside,fired blindly,and there u r busy cowering.U must be new to politics.Grow up Lucy

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    Nyoni 8 years ago

    The whole population has post traumatic stress not just all our polies and vets. The treatment of all our people to now is vital to normalise all our behavioural patterns. This regime knows this and now feels threatened because our people have wised to all the manipulation carried out by Hitler and his cronies. We are not stupid and the devil is now waiting to shake hands with the evil ones soon.

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    Murimi, truly, you need to wake up. This nation has been ruled by fear for decades. Lucy has a voice and she is telling you like it is. about 14 million people will back her up. I care about you Murimi, because you are my fellow Zimbabwean but you are also a self confessed ZPF. That is fine. That is your choice. And that is why you don’t fear. Because it is that very party that inflicts fear on this nation and every sector of it. I a praying Christian and for years have discerned and stood against that spirit of fear. God is going to tear down that bondage. Fear is a weapon from the Zpf don’t use fear. I could tell you a very interesting story of what happened in Mash West this weekend. I am sorry Murimi. I stand firmly with Lucy on this one. She said it well. Millions of Zimbabweans live in fear and have had their very lives and futures destroyed. There is a way that seems right unto man but its steps lead down to death! I wish you well today.

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    Sorry, I meant to say, Fear is from the very pit of hell and a weapon ZPF have chosen to use.

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    Msizeni silwelani 8 years ago

    Well summed, full of fear is our society, fearful of democratic change, fearful of pursuing its democracy, fearful of knowing and accepting the realism of the nation and hence a fearful citizenry.

    Political influence is being misplaced to create an uneven field for the re/distribution of wealth. Equal opportunities have been scuttled for political correctness. Our society has become an entity of the political elite. We fear the status quo, we fear what if there is political transformation. A fearful constituency is Zimbabwe.

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    Twinn 8 years ago

    The best political weapon is the weapon of TERROR. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don’t ask for their love; only for their FEAR.

    A tool used to oppress for centuries!!!

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    Murimi Wanhasi 8 years ago

    @NBS.Good day to u too.
    Is someone goin to fail to get out of bed coz they fear Zpf?A lot of peopke are living out the fear of high profile activists who claim constant run ins with the law.The ordinary law abiding citizen has nothin to fear.
    Have u personally ever been “victimised”?Has Lucy?
    If u follow western @ south african news,u might be forgiven for thinkin there is war in zim.
    Zim is peaceful,whatever party u belong to.Try opposing Boko Haram.

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    CLIVE SUTHERLAND 8 years ago

    Have a look at “Anatomy of Fear” you will find it on the internet it is a publication that was produced in about 1973 by the Rhodesian Ministry of Information, there are disturbing images of atrocities committed by mainly Zanla. So the fear tactics started long ago. No doubt there are many critics that will dispute these facts.

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    Guys stop responding to Murimi, he is what he is. He is in bed with Zanoids and therefore let him be. He has no constructive ideas to return Zimbabwe to what it should be and even if he did it would be because he has been touched by the evil of Zanoids

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    Murimi Wanhasi 8 years ago

    @Joe.I think your bed time is approaching.
    U would rather speak to level headed Murimi,than some who have graced todays discussions.

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    to all zimbabweans ..bear in your minds THE PRICE OF FREEDOM IS DEATH…MUGABE AND HIS GANG enjoy the good life simply because they killed for it..If you want economic & freedom of speech take up arms wipe out this mugabe gang ..Only war will solve all the problems in zimbabwe..In this life nothing comes for free..if you want to live the good life be prepared to kill or to die for..Sitting,complaining and hiding behind computer screens will never solve your problems .U will forever be oppressed by this mugabi regime until you die..