Moving Towards Elections: Realities Zimbabweans Should Never Forget
By Farai Mamina
As the new draft constitution fracas continues to gather momentum with familiar propagandists’ tendencies of defending impracticable and anti-Zimbabwean constitutional demands, there are deep-seated issues Zimbabweans should never forget. These issues should form part of the electorate’s desire to have things differently in next year’s election. Zimbabweans have been made to believe in the wrong things for far too long – too much longer than had originally been anticipated by any composed person. It is every fairminded citizen’s hope that SADC’s October special summit on Zimbabwe will engender sanity in the way Zanu PF interprets modern day politics.
The time has come for Zimbabweans to fully engage in the inevitable deluge of bad memories. The occasion has come for Zimbabweans to pull through the last round of a bitter battle against our very own “liberators” who have done zilch to warrant them not to be baptized with all sorts of names. They claim to have liberated Zimbabwe from the racist colonialism of the British led by Ian Smith, yet even Smith himself later aspired he had given Mugabe a chance much earlier, had he known the kind of callous person the negotiated president was. To hear such kind of confession from a man that was considered Rhodesia’s walking devil, was not only remarkable but horrifying. Horrifying in the sense that Smith indirectly admitted that the new government of Robert Mugabe was indeed much worse than himself (Smith) given the 1930s economics with which the Fort Hare graduate and his festering team managed the economy. Soldiers are being used to campaign for Zanu PF; what is the meaning of that?
SADC should demand answers and begin to deploy election campaigns monitors now and not next month.
The dictatorship has long switched on the death ignition key and intelligence apparatus are already stepping on the acceleration pedal. Meanwhile, Mugabe wants to be recorded as having warned of election unrests in advance. It was a sham warning intended at pushing for politics of mob psychology in which his ulterior motive was to gain some positive points – the world needs to know that. Recent history shows that if not ousted, an all-time dictator will die tied to his principles as Saddam and Gaddafi did. Mugabe is no different, but in fact worse in this regard.
2002 and 2008 murders and mutilations
Regardless of what the state controlled media shall be channelling out from now until 2013, Zimbabweans should never forget how MDC supporters were butchered at the hands of Zanu PF in 2002 and 2008 election campaigns. People must never buy the story that Zanu PF is committed and ready to participating in free and fair elections. Zanu PF can never be willing to do things differently, especially now, with diamonds unearthing everywhere in the country. They need it all to themselves and anyone else who differs with their rogue principles deserves to die. People need to remember how they were asked whether they wanted the short sleeve or long sleeve before being butchered and mutilated. People should remember how they watched as their relatives were being burnt alive with some going missing up to this day. Many heads were each dissected into two equal halves at public gatherings as a sign of their extreme brutality in case anybody wanted to vote for Tsvangirai – it happened and its well documented.
Zimbabweans should not find any reason to be weary anymore as being weary will make no difference to and deter Zanu PF from committing further atrocities.
Dismal economic failure
When in high school we learned of the recession Germany went through during the time of Hitler, we did not envisage anything of that sort happening to Zimbabwe. With his eight academic degrees and nineteen honorary degrees, nobody ever imagined Robert Mugabe would fail to manage the economy worse than a grade seven would. His shambolic endorsement of money printing lead to Zimbabwe’s inflation reaching a record 231 million percent before government stopped computing. Can this be the kind of man people again want to vote into office? Do we seriously need to go back to the days of economic meltdown? The time has come for Zimbabweans to judge Mugabe based on his past economic policy failures and not just heaping praise for an empowerment drive that empowers only the already empowered. No ordinary person can win a tender in Zimbabwe; no ordinary person has ever become rich without first getting linked to Zanu PF corruption. If it was not for a SADC enforced GNU with fresh blood from outside Zanu PF, where would be Zimbabwe’s inflation today? Was it not Mugabe who was vehemently opposing the use of foreign currencies as legal tender? Is it not him and his team who are externalising US dollar billions from Chiadzwa and financing their parallel Zanu PF government with money which was supposed to enter into national coffers? The finance minister now has to hit worldwide begging section headlines yet some few individuals are plundering the abundant diamond resource! What sort of circus is this that Zanu PF is playing? Is it because they know that they will be out soon?
1987 Gukurahundi Massacres
In Shona, Gukurahundi means “the early rains that wash away the chaff” – of which in this case the 5th Brigade was the Gukurahundi with the Ndebele being the minority Robert Mugabe considered the chaff. As long as nothing is done to compensate families of those murdered in the grisly 5th Brigade operation, people will not stop talking about it. It is something that left an indelible mark and caused permanent divisions between Zimbabweans. To this day the Ndebele people find it difficult to fully trust their Shona counterparts because of atrocities wilfully planned and perpetrated by three scot-free men – Mugabe, Mnangagwa and Perence Shiri. They want people of Zimbabwe to forget just like that! They want everybody to shut-up and say no word about it. People could have been quiet over the past twenty-five years (from 1987) but the ducks are now coming home to roost.
With Mnangagwa declaring “no compensation” in parliament, they are against the mainstream MDC’s idea of reparations to direct and indirect victims, yet they want the people from Matebeleland to vote them into power! Have they not lost touch with reality? Any sane Ndebele person should reconsider their decision to have Zanu PF as a choice in the next election. Twenty-five years after committing the atrocities, Mugabe has not even said “sorry” to the people of Matebeleland [finding the word sorry in Mugabe’s vocabulary is as rare as finding a South Korean dining in Pyongyang]. As if that wasn’t enough, Zanu PF is in fact denying them food handouts for the simple reason that they support MDC. But how can a normal person under, democratic conditions of fairness, support a ruthless leader who for 32 years has failed to speak their language? Such behaviour clearly shows if there was another opportunity to repeat Gukurahundi, Zanu PF would double the figure of those murdered in 1987. There has to be an acceptable solution no matter what goes on in their inconsistent minds.
Over 600 ‘wet’ bodies discovered in William Mine Chibondo Kuvhunduka chati kwatara hunge uine katurike (One’s sudden fear of an inquiry shows their guilt). After the 2011 discovery of dead bodies that were still decomposing in a closed mine shaft, Zanu PF started distancing itself form the scandal before anybody pointed a finger at them. They blamed Ian Smith in a case where the pathologist certified that the bodies were less than thirty years old. Even patches of hair and clothes were still visible on the corpses. Saviour Kasukuwere refused any forensics being conducted on the bodies claiming that only traditionalists were going to perform rituals to identify the dead victims whose avenging spirits were now terrorising local villagers. Until and unless Mugabe and his Zanu PF have been shown the exit from Zimbabwean politics, the nation will continue being stuck in the crater of wilderness. Effects of atrocities that have been committed by the so-called founding fathers who perform sacrificial rituals in broad daylight is beyond reasonable comprehension. Aligning reason to evidence such as this, Zimbabweans will surely make the right decision in 2013. It has to be told, continuously preached like a sermon, and people have got to remember every detail.
Political liberation for worse brutality
When they fought and won the war of liberation, they were justifiably (in some cases) and unjustifiably (in others) considered heroes. When they assumed power, they started abusing office by plundering resources and lining their pockets to the extent that after twenty-three years of independence (2003), national coffers were empty. Their record of killing anyone who tried to speak out is a sharp memory angle that still reminds people of the unfortunate victims by names. People of Zimbabwe cannot and should not continue listening to the lies peddled by these people from an unknown planet. Having compared Mugabe’s leadership to that of colonialists, one would of course ask questions like: What better prison than to be in a cell where you only listen to the voice of Mugabe? What better prison than to be in a country where you cannot gather as three people? What better prison than to be in a cabinet where you will die just for asking when Mugabe is retiring? What better prison than to be in a country where you die for trying to introduce the Al Jazeera news network? Zimbabweans must not forget just like that.
People must find fighting strength in Zanu PF’s resistance to give up their cowardice. We are getting to a time where anybody sane can only wish that the fighting spirit of Josiah Tongogara engulfs the entire nation in 2013. Many people have died while still expecting a better life under the Zimbabwean sun. Others continue to die in prisons whose conditions are so appalling a visitor can easily faint from nausea with no justice being delivered at all – no wonder why they do not want the judicial system to be democratised.
People must refuse being conned any longer by saying “No” to Robert Mugabe’s continued cruelty in the next election. Right now even conservancy vultures have also become victims of Zanu PF’s insensitivity; if SADC is not careful enough, 2013 will see the shedding of more human blood than in any other previous election in Zimbabwe. It takes disseminating factual information on the grassroots – just like the Egyptians did; only Zimbabweans can change things around them.
Enhancing grassroots communication
The time has come for people with access to external forms of media to communicate the correct and right message to compatriots in the countryside. There is an urgent need to begin to tell relatives in rural areas the importance of giving new blood a chance to govern. If it means the MDC needs to start distributing cheaper smart phones with internet access and shortwave radio receivers to every rural household so that they may have direct access, then they need to start doing that. The Egyptian uprising started with mere messages on social networks and it soon spread like wild fire leading to the fall of Hosni Mubarak.
However, in a country highly polarised with propaganda, and poverty of unimaginable dimensions, the word of mouth remains the preeminent and inexpensive form of communication that people can easily depend on. The MDC should begin translating and intensifying distribution of copies of their ‘MDC Today’ publication in the rural areas and make sure everybody gets a copy. They should encourage all young people to register as voters and distribute flyers with information on why people must vote for them. There exists a special need to daily interact with the people in constituencies and gathering fundamental detail of their ever-changing needs and expectations. If food is what people need, MDC should work with donors to provide food before Zanu PF starts penetrating and dishing out once in ten years grain.
Some people’s cold bloodedness on the exterior represents conditions on the inside. Ordinary and widely shared sense shall prevail where rather than choosing economic sabotage by voting environmentally unfriendly candidates, Zimbabweans will collectively make a wise decision and vote for people who still have some warm blood running in their veins. The electorate needs people with life.
Author: Farai Mamina is an independent political analyst, information, PR and marketing expert based in Namibia. For insightful political analysis and advice, Farai can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org