By Charles Moyo
Since 1980, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF “B Team” have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that they are grossly incompetent to deal with public affairs. History will judge them very unkindly.
Anti-Mugabe protesters have become increasingly angry amid economic turmoil that has left cash shortages and high unemployment. Credit: Reuters
Their atrocious legacy is well documented: Gukurahundi, land grabbing, corruption, crony-capitalism, state-sponsored violence and massive electoral fraud, among others. Ironically, ZANU PF’s legacy mirrors that of the colonial regime that it replaced.
Mugabe and his government have perfected the colonial legacy of dictatorship to its extreme and detestable form. Ghanaian Economist, George Ayittey has no kind words for such regimes. They fall under what he calls a “vampire state” which has been hijacked by “bandits and crooks who use the instruments of state power to enrich themselves, their cronies, their tribesmen and exclude everybody else. The richest people in Africa are heads of states and ministers. The bandit is the head of state himself.”
In the context of Zimbabwe, most individuals will fully concur with Ayittey.
In ZANU PF, corruption is fought in words but promoted in attitude. This explains why Saviour Kasukuwere, Obert Mpofu, Jonathan Moyo, Gideon Gono, and Goodwills Masimirembwa, among others, are still walking scot free despite being some of the most corrupt human beings on earth.
Corruption has cascaded from the top echelons to every corner of the Zimbabwean society. In relation to post colonial Africa, Frantz Fanon was “prophetic” on corruption: “scandals are numerous, ministers grow rich, their wives doll themselves up, the members of parliament feather their nests and there is not a soul down to the simple policeman or the customs officer who does not join in the great procession of corruption.”
Not anger but shame is felt when one is faced with the reality that government’s corruption scandals in Zimbabwe seem to have no end; they are ever growing at an alarming rate. From the missing $15 billion from Marange diamonds, Jonathan Moyo’s USD430 000 ZIMDEF theft to Saviour Kasukuwere’s shoddy land deals; the government corruption and scandals mill rages on.
Government’s corruption in Zimbabwe has stirred a deadly pot of stark civil resistance and disobedience. From the Occupy Africa Unity Square campaign, #ThisFlag, #ThisPot, #ThisGown, #ThisFlower to the militant #Tajamuka/Sesijikile; the message is clear: ZANU PF has ruined the country and must be shown the exit door.
In reaction to these pro-citizens movements and resistance, in a Gestapo and fascist style, the state has descended on the protestors with an iron fist: civic society leaders have been arrested; Itai Dzamara abducted, judges threatened, activists’ vehicles torched, students gagged, vendors evicted and protesters brutalised.
Fascist laws and regulations have been put in place to stall the peaceful protests. Martin Luther and Mahatma Ghandi condemned unjust laws and argued that an unjust law is not a law at all. The Zimbabwean dictatorship is camouflaged and insulated in unjust laws. Yet Montesquieu teaches us that there is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.
The violent suppression of peaceful and democratic protests by the state in Zimbabwe can lead to only one result: bigger, bolder and better forms of peaceful resistance against the state. From the past and historic dictatorships in Latin America, Europe and Africa, we clearly learn that you cannot stop political change when its time has come.
POTRAZ’s raising the cost of internet to limit the citizens’ access to social media and information is a self-defeating exercise. Such a move smacks of a desperate regime clutching at a last straw. Resorting to crude propaganda will also not work because we clearly comprehended George Orwell when he said: “politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”
Orwell also warned us that: “Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” State propaganda by ZANU PF mouth pieces such as the The Herald, The Sunday Mail, The Chronicle and ZBC is the fire that warms the spirit of peaceful resistance in Zimbabwe.
The ZANU PF narrative of oppression in Zimbabwe is a sad narrative. It is a narrative of inconsistencies, contradictions and ironies. It is a narrative of liberators who turned into tyrants, a narrative of freedom fighters who have turned into “freedom slaughters.”
In relation to ZANU PF, one needs to reflect and understand the words of Napoleon Bonaparte when he said that among those oppressed are many who like to oppress. Instead of learning from the evil vices of colonialism, the current regime in Zimbabwe has not only adopted the colonial style of governance but has also perfected it.
When faced with such a tyrannical oligarchy and kleptocracy, locking oneself in the world of silence is not the solution, for Martin Luther warned us that our lives begin to end when we are silent about things that matter. The Zimbabwean youth should not be silent.
The Zimbabwean youth is a troubled youth: it is an unemployed youth. Now is the time for the youth to spread the message of change to every corner of the country. Leaders should be made accountable, voter education and mobilisation should be rolled out and values of peaceful and democratic means of political resistance should be inculcated. Corruption should be unmasked, resisted and destroyed.
The youth should carry out this task. They must also preach the message of unity and push for a grand coalition of political parties under a sole candidate in 2018. Democratic political change is the only way the Zimbabwean will regain his or her long lost dignity.
Let me conclude by saying that, Zimbabweans from all walks of life; it is time to find each other more than ever before. Drivers, teachers, dentists, barristers, lecturers, plumbers, “ghetto” youths, conductors, economists, journalists, doctors, students, mechanics, nurses, women’s groups, church leaders, vendors, pilots, engineers, political parties, intellectuals, the elderly, diasporans and civic society organisations; it is time to unite for action and deliver political change to the people of Zimbabwe in the next elections.
We should take a leaf from what #Tajamuka/Sesijikile Spokesperson, Promise Mkhwananzi recently said. He said in 2017, we will resist ZANU PF on the streets, in valleys, on mountains, in bars, kitchens and even in our bedrooms. In his New Year message, Pastor Evan Mawarire dubbed 2017 as “The Year of People Power.”
To Zimbabweans in Beitbridge, Umzingwane, Tsholotsho, Gwanda, Mwenezi, Chiredzi, Plumtree, Bulawayo, Chimanimani, Masvingo, Shurugwi, Gweru, Harare, Victoria Falls, Nyanga, Rusape, Binga, Mutoko, Chinhoyi, Kwekwe, Kariba, Mount Darwin, Mhangura, Sanyati, West Nicholson, Mvuma, Kadoma, Mutare, Bindura and those in the diaspora, among other places, we have nothing to lose but freedom to gain!
Charles Moyo is a Media and Political Analyst. He is a PhD Research Fellow in Media and Political Studies at Bayreuth University in Germany. He writes in his own personal capacity.