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Is Zimbabwe ever going to be a nation?

24 Aug 2020 at 07:13hrs | Views
AS expected, Zimbabwe is again in the limelight, attracting condemnation from the region and abroad. And again, Zanu-PF remains arrogant that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe. This is despite that the country has been in a state of crisis for two decades and those in power today are worsening the situation.

Our cause is not helped by the fact that as a nation, we are not united anymore. Or have we been before? The borders put in place by the colonialists were somehow supposed to make us one united nation. But since 1980, we have been disintegrated by various forms of polarisation. Political polarisation has continued to rip the country apart. When the political pressure intensifies, we retract into our tribal enclaves.

There is no evidence in history books of dictators repenting and becoming democratic. Zanu-PF has demonstrated that it is not willing to change and is, therefore, incapable of improving or repairing anything that has broken under their watch. This is why we are stuck and will continue that way until there is change.

But then there is another group the no crisis in Zimbabwe group suggesting that we should leave things as they are and move on, lest we rile the brutality of the ruling Zanu-PF. They call this being progressive even when looting is bleeding the country of its resources. It is this mentality that has gotten us here being comfortable and patient with brutality and insatiable greedy.

It is a mentality oblivious of the fact that it is those governing who continue to author are problems. Or rather, they are the problem. They are in no mood to listen to anything other than their own praise and propaganda. They are political angels who should not be criticised.

Any attempt to engage them has been met with brutal force. Churches have weighed in with their voices. And they too have been met with vitriol from the authorities. Obscenities are being hurled left, right and centre including in global media. That is the image and content we are delivering to the world.

What remains of the nation has been broken. We have been further disenfranchised, thus weakening our national resolve and political clout. Fear has drifted us apart, including from chasing our simple goal of being a normal and functional nation. Those of influence are now all about expediency. Political captivity is the order of the day.

There is no effective way of shutting down the people than denying them access to their national resources and stifling their voices. We have been distanced from our natural national resources. We are not allowed to talk about or demand accountability about those resources. It has become sacred and for that we have been impoverished and weakened.

What then will it take to become a nation? The present and the future need us to be one nation inhabiting in a defined territory called Zimbabwe. We need to be that nation that can organise itself and form a governance system that pays allegiance to us as a nation and not the other way around. This will not be given for free. Freedom and people-led governance are never given for free but are earned through sacrifice, compromise and sometimes spilling of blood. We lack the unity to mobilise this currency to secure our present and future freedom.

Our stability as a nation must result from a government that is loyal to a people united by common national goals and interests. We need national goals which the current situation has reduced to political and personal interests. Our weakness lies in that we lack unity, cohesion and conviction and not that the ruling party is stronger and brutal. The people have more power to change their situation but they have allowed the ruling party to spread its tentacles and widen crevices that have kept us divided. We need to find each other for the sake of our country.

In the absence of people power, looting continues to be a sacred entitlement whose exposure is met with arrest and criminal accusations. This is why it is now normal to underpay civil servants and still expect them to deliver even when they do not have the necessary equipment.

This is why some in our uniformed forces are happier beating up protesters who are demanding better working conditions on their behalf. This is why we have made the choice of learning to navigate potholes instead of asking authorities to fix our roads. We drill boreholes instead of demanding clean water and yet we pay rates.

We fear and shy away from demanding services from the same authorities who claim to have been voted into office by the people and who receive our rates and taxes every month. We think not confronting them is an easy route without realising that it is the hardest and most expensive. It is hard because it kills accountability and hands over power to the ruling elite.

Once they loot with impunity, it becomes a habit and an entitlement and power becomes their permanent position. This is why they call the country chinhu chavo (their thing).

Tapiwa Gomo is a development consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa. He writes here in his personal capacity.

Source - newsday
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