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'What kind of leaders will an armed struggle throw up?' - we should have considered and have paid dearly for our folly

06 Feb 2021 at 20:25hrs | Views
During India's struggle for home rule, especially during the years when some felt Mahatma Gandhi's passive resistance was going nowhere, the question did arise on whether they should wage an armed struggle.

"What kind of leaders will an armed struggle throw up?" Gandhi and the other leaders asked. "And are those the men and women we would want to lead the nation after independence?"

An armed struggle could have hastened India's independence by a decade or two, no one will ever know for certain. The most important question is would India, led by liberation war leaders, be the healthy and functioning democracy it has been since independence? Probably not!

In the case of Zimbabwe, we did wage an armed struggle to end white colonial rule and the armed struggle did thrown up hawks who have ridden roughshod over the people, denying them their freedoms and rights including the right to a meaningful say in the governance of the country and even the right to life.

It was laughable, if it was not so tragic, that during the 1979 Lancaster House talks it was the black nationalists leaders who objected to the multi-party democratic Lancaster House constitution. Both Zanu PF and PF Zapu wanted a one-party state, they did not push for it only because each wanted to be the dominant party.

Mugabe and his Zanu PF party launched the 1983 to 1987 Gukurahundi massacre whose principle purpose was to crash Dr Joshua Nkomo and his PF Zapu, his main political challenge, and force them to join Zanu PF in the 1987 Unity Accord. The Unity Accord was then used as the excuse for imposing a de facto one-party dictatorship that has ruled the roost to this day.

Zimbabwe had many opportunities to end the Zanu PF dictatorship with the best of these coming during the 2008 to 2013 GNU. SADC leaders had managed to get Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to commit to the implementation of a raft of democratic reforms designed to dismantle the dictatorship. The task of implementing the reforms fell to Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC colleagues.

Mugabe bribed the MDC leaders with the trappings of high office and, with their snouts in the feeding trough, they forgot about the reforms. They failed to implement even one reform in five years!

Ever since the 2008 GNU, Zanu PF has toned down the dictatorship by giving away a few gravy train seats and a share of the annual payout from the Political Party Finance Act as bait to entice the opposition to participate in elections even when it is clear Zanu PF was rigging the plebiscite. Zanu PF blatantly rigged the July 2018 elections, the regime failed to produce something as basic as a verified voters' roll for Pete's sake.

Still, the party was able to point to the opposition's overwhelming enthusiastic participation in the elections as proof Zimbabwe is a functioning democracy. There were 23 presidential candidates and 130 political parties contested for the parliamentary seats to say nothing of independent candidates.

Zimbabwe had the potential to become the South Korea of Africa - a free dynamic and prosperous nation, if the country had had the fortune of quality leaders. Sadly, the armed struggle had thrown corrupt, incompetent and murderous thugs as the nation's leaders and Zimbabwe has become the North Korea of Africa - a nation with a few filthy rich and ruling elite crashing the poor and powerless majority into the dust.

"If the armed struggle throws up corrupt, incompetent and murderous thugs as the nation's leaders; what must you do to wrestle power from these thugs?"

This is the third question Mahatma Gandhi and his fellow Indian leaders never asked because they ruled out the armed struggle. Zimbabwe had the armed struggle and it did thrown up corrupt and murderous tyrants. And for the last 40 years we, Zimbabweans have pretended the third question was irrelevant and have paid dearly for our folly as Zanu PF has dragged the nation deeper and deeper into the abyss.

The corona virus pandemic has hit Zimbabwe very hard because at the outbreak the country was already in an economic mess with its health care service all but broken. And going forward, Zanu PF's blundering incompetence, the failure to test and isolate for example, has turned a tragedy into a catastrophe.

Nations get the government they deserve and we in Zimbabwe certainly deserve this corrupt, incompetent, vote rigging and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship because we have done nothing to stop the thugs getting into power. And, once in power, for 40 years and counting, we have done nothing to remove them!

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