The proverbial allegory of people watering the garden whilst the house burns adequately describes the current Zanu PF leadership. Mugabe is busy fiddling with factionalism and globetrotting nonstop whilst the country burns.
There is a cash crises, no money to pay civil servants, let alone feed the starving section of the population affected by drought. But Mugabe, wife and their cheerleaders are only but preoccupied with power retention in their dying party. This kind of arrogance is the doing of unfettered power in the past 36 yrs. Which we must defeat without fail, sooner rather than later.
Yes, we have heard these nonsensical claims that it’s not Mugabe but his lieutenants who are to blame for all the country’s ills. Mugabe is the sole appointing authority in the country, therefore the buck stops with him. It is under his watch that corruption and incompetence has flourished. Thugs masquerading as government officials have been protected and are being promoted on the basis of their zealousness and loyalty to the corruption godfather Robert Mugabe himself.
Ladies and gentlemen, Zimbabwe is not going to recover from these ills unless we take necessary action to remove the thieving Mugabe and his thugs from power.
All of us, progressive democratic forces and especially the youth must be preoccupied with two things and two things only. That is removing Mugabe and Zanu PF from power and envisioning the future we want post Mugabe era.
What must be done now?
Stealing from Ibsen’s wisdom I concur that the greatest task for our generation is to blow the existing political system into thin air. Unfortunately, it seems to have penetrated into some of the opposition organisations too. Therefore, it is our responsibility as young people to exterminate this archaic political system that places personalities above institutions and an individual above a cause.
But first we must dismantle Zanu PF and its pillars of support. Either we respond to this, our generational mandate or betray it, there are no two ways about it.
2018 is upon us. For how long shall we let Zanu PF play Russian roulette with our lives? We must take a stand and adopt the Malcolm X strategy “by any means necessary”. Yes, it is a dangerous stand but bullies only understand one language and we must either speak that language or be ready to be bullied forever.
Tough decisions and actions must be taken. Taken to show our seriousness. From the ordinary citizen to the various leaders of either civic society or opposition groups, everyone has an important part to play. No one can and will play anyone’s part.
1. The Opposition must unite without Fail
I can never grow tired on emphasising on this point. We cannot allow the egos of a few elites to overshadow the importance of this move. Zimbabwe is crying for salvation and salvation can only come from us. Together we stand divided we fall ancient wisdom informs us.
Yes, occasionally we remind those formerly Zanu PF members now in the opposition who want to rubbish the parts they played within the Zanu PF system in the past on social media. But this is not a cue for our leaders to mean that we do not want to join hands with these new members of the opposition.
In politics, we must be pragmatic and never be ruled by our emotions. We must be realistic and idealistic. The world we live in is full of imperfections. If we are to take the struggle forward we must operate based on the realities of the present moment. They say in politics there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests. When our interests collide like now, we must never hesitate to join hands with people we regarded as enemies in the past.
When the war veterans who have been Mugabe’s biggest pillar of support realise that their patron is Zimbabwe’s biggest liability we must not deride them. But we must seek them, talk to them, court them back to be with the people.
These court solidarities and the Tajamuka led demonstrations are providing a platform for all opposition leaders to come and be with the people who are desperately seeking leadership which is not forthcoming from traditional sources. Dumiso Dabengwa, Simba Makoni, Tendai Biti, Mangoma, Margret Dongo, Elton Mangoma, Joyce Mujuru, Welshman Ncube, Morgan Tsvangirai, Thokozani Khupe, Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga and Lovemore Madhuku come and be the face of the people’s struggles and lead from the front. Your unity at this juncture will send the right message both to the dictator and the masses that enough is enough.
As sure as the sun will rise each day, rest assured that bond notes are coming in October. The government does not have money. They are waiting to print those bond notes, whilst hoping that a bailout from the International community and Multilateral Institutions will materialise. Being proactive we must have a united opposition in place to lead the people in revolt against these bond notes. The same opposition leadership must also engage these multilateral institutions to stop propping up a rogue regime that is in its dying stages.
2. Self introspection
We need to take a deep introspection of ourselves as the opposition and start making changes from lessons we have learned both from our past mistakes and experiences. They say a clever man learns from his mistakes but a wiser man learns from others’ mistakes.
We have not been serious in recruiting serious talent within our ranks in the opposition both from young promising leaders within the country and serious professionals across the globe. Councils have been run by incompetent Zanu PF but since taking over we have not seen any drastic changes to show our excellence as the opposition. When it comes to running the country competence must be placed before party loyalty. It is therefore the responsibility of the opposition to recruit top talent whilst still in the trenches so as to avoid opportunists taking advantage when the battle has already been won.
The opposition must be accountable to its members, sister organisations and the general populace who place their faith in it election after election. We must not just go to the people seeking votes but hold feedback meetings both at council and parliamentary level throughout the country. Hear people’s concerns and try and address them. Feedback meetings are also a platform to explain to the people, the political challenges the leaders are facing in their day to day operations.
Self-introspection must be a continual process not a one of thing off. There must be systems and mechanisms in place to carry self-introspection as a continuous process.
3. An eye for an eye
You can never reason with a bully for a bully understands only one language. You simply have to stand up to him. He might beat you in a fight but be rest assured he will never bully you again.
We have preached peace and non violence only to be taken advantage of by these thugs. It is our revolutionary duty to defend ourselves and protect change agents in vulnerable places across the country. Supporters of change were brutalised and we did not do all we could to defend ourselves. This must change. Muroyi munhu akatsunywa anochemawo (a witch is a human being if pinched he will cry too). Zanu PF people are not super humans they can hurt as much as we hurt.
If they burn anyone’s house, two Zanu PF houses must be burnt too. If one opposition guy is beaten two Zanu PF people must be beaten two. This is the only language Zanu PF understands. Let us show them that we mean serious business. For how long shall we continue to be cry-babies and victims when we are in the majority. How can a demonstration of over 3000 people be quashed by less than 20 rogue riot police? We have to start speaking the language they understand.
4. Increase the cost of supporting Zanu PF
If we are really fed up of our suffering and we all agree that our suffering is a result of Zanu PF misrule, then we need to make this loud and clear. Let’s stop buying vegetables from known Zanu PF thugs who terrorise us in our neighbourhoods during elections.
Zanu PF chefs own bottle stores and supermarkets in our ghettos if we are seriously fed up, let’s speak through their pockets and maybe they will listen.
The opposition has better intelligence infrastructure and as such they must organise and lead a boycott Zanu PF campaign. This campaign must encompass boycotts of the Herald, Alfa and Omega products throughout the country. How do we reconcile the fact that we do not like Mugabe and his goons yet we prop up their businesses?
We must also boycott artists that participate in Zanu PF’s functions. It is one thing to participate at national events and celebrations but to participate at private Zanu PF functions must be punishable. Mtukudzi, SoulJah Love, Killer T and Mathias Mhere must be punished for their acts during the one million march endorsing Mugabe as the Zanu PF candidate for 2018. We did this with Simon Chimbetu and Andy Brown in the early 2000s without any formal organisation spearheading the boycott. Back then we were serious about change. We need to reignite that seriousness going forward and show these goons how much fed up we are.
5. Name and Shame
Zanu PF zealots and thugs are well known in all our communities. We must make their lives difficult. We must publicise their pictures, what they have done, their names and where they live. Their children and their relatives must become ashamed of them and their actions.
Those adept with technical skills must create a website or simply a Facebook page or both where these people can be posted and published. Due care must be exercised not to victimise innocent people, there are other malicious Zimbabweans who are petty for no reason. Nehanda Radio at some point documented some CIOs across the world. We now need to improve on this and take a holistic approach to document all our tormentors, their names and faces because this is the machinery that is propping up the regime.
There are police officers who go beyond the call of duty. They act as if they are Mugabe’s children, or that they are major shareholders in Zanu PF. We need to document their names, faces, force numbers and the roles they are playing in suppressing the people. They will have to pay for their actions in the new Zimbabwe without fail.
We need to seriously engage the rural and farming communities. Things are tough for everyone and the truth of the matter is that everyone now wants change. We need to make our agricultural policy quite clear and unambiguous for the ordinary Zimbabwean. Let them know unequivocally that we are on the same side of the divide, we are not going to reverse the land reform. But at the same time we must never be apologetic to those who corruptly benefited and have multiple farms. We will retake and redistribute the other farms and leave everyone with one farm.
But above all we need to come up with a serious strategy to counter Zanu PF violence in the rural areas. Chiefs who play partisan politics in food distribution and mobilisation on behalf of Zanu PF must also be shamed and publicised. We all know that these very same chiefs were used by Ian Smith during the colonial days now they have to make a choice if they want to play a part in the new Zimbabwe or not, if they are with the people or with the dying dictator because with or without them a new Zimbabwe is coming.
As Maureen Madeumanga puts it, yes when it comes to Zimbabwe, it is now personal do not expect me to be politically correct or apologetic. We must do all it takes to make the new Zimbabwe a reality.
A new Zimbabwe is a must in Mugabe’s life time.